| by Thomas C. Mountain
( June 18, 2913, Eretria , Sri Lanka Guardian) Divide and rule is a law of imperialism and western style “democracy” is how imperialism implements this law in neocolonial Africa. It’s called “elections” and with it’s winner take all diktats division, conflict, ethnic cleansing, mass murder and civil war are the results.
Traditionally in Africa’s villages decisions and conflict resolution takes place using a consensus system with no absolute winners and losers, with all parties agreeing to the final decision and honor bound to carry it out. Just the opposite of what happens after “elections” in “democratic Africa”.
The dishonor roll of “African Democracy” a.k.a. bought, rigged or stolen elections must begin with Ethiopia, where the ethnic minority regime declared themselves victors 12 hours after the polls closed with 99.6% of the seats in parliament.
Second place could go to Liberia, where the capital Monrovia has not had running water or electricity for the entire term of Eleanor Johnson’s Presidency, she who ran unopposed the last “election”, and won a Nobel Prize to boot.
In third place, maybe second place really, stands Somalia, where there simply was no voting done by the Somali people, the entire parliament which “elected” the President was hand picked by the previous President.
Fourth place? Maybe Libya where Al Queda militias run rampant and it doesn't really matter who won the latest “election”, it is all about tribe and family and ties to the local warlords, sort of like Somalia really.
Fifth place is being reserved for the “victor” of the Malian “election”, scheduled to be held in the midst of an ongoing
counterinsurgency with thousands of French troops still occupying the country.
Sixth place goes to Cote D’Ivoire where under the international communities supervision hundreds of thousands of non-Ivorians were allowed to vote (never mind the Ivorian Constitution) and then declared the World Banks local rep as the winner (again, never mind the Ivorian Constitutional Court who declared the incumbent President the winner). And when the incumbent wouldn't cede power as demanded, rocket his Presidential residence courtesy of the French military and UN “peacekeepers” until shellshocked into surrender.
Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Burundi, Congo, Central African Republic...insurgencies and rebellions everywhere and the foremost demand of Pax Americana and its western vassals is “elections”.
Of course there is one country in Africa that doesn't have elections. It is also the African country with the smallest debt to the IMF and World Bank and one of if not the fastest growing economies on the continent.
According to a nearly opaque World Bank report this country has tripled its GDP since expelling western aid organizations in 2004 and the UN “peacekeepers” in 2005. Can one even name another country in the world that expelled an entire UN “peacekeeping” army?
I am talking about Eritrea, 22 years independent and no elections. And you know what? When I raise the question of “elections” with my Eritrean family and friends, both at home and abroad, (I am the only one who raises this, I cant remember the last time an Eritrean I knew did so) they have little or no interest in the subject.
If I persist, the Eritreans will tell you that the thought of “elections” only brings with it visions of divisions and conflict.
Most everyone here in Eritrea supports the President and the feeling is pretty clear we don't need westerners telling us what's best.
In other words the only people calling for “elections” in Eritrea are not Eritrean.
Democracy is supposed to mean that the leaders of a nation do what their people want.
Most Africans will tell you what we most want is food, water, shelter, medical care and education for our children.
If a country’s leaders are providing these basic human rights to their people they are doing what their people want and practicing democracy. If they are not, if their people are hungry, cold, sick and illiterate then these leaders are not democratic no matter how many times they hold “elections”.
Democracy vs elections is how matters stand in Africa today, and it all boils down to who is cold, sick, hungry and illiterate and who has leaders taking care of their people, first and foremost, those most in need.
Elections in Africa means divide and rule, followed by crisis management, managing the western created crisis to better loot and
plunder Africa's resources, everyday more critical in a world ever more rapidly devouring such.
Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com.
| An obituary by Commodore RS Vasan IN (Retd)
( June 18, 2013, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) That Raman the globally acknowledged counter terrorism expert and our own R&AW man is no more is very sad news that is hard to digest. The death which came on 16th evening,unfortunately was again the handiwork of the most dreaded decease, Cancer with which he waged two battles. The first time, he was successful and was jubilant that he had overcome the challenges of a prostate cancer with the aid of modern medicine and some innovative methods. He wrote and blogged extensively about the hard fought campaign against cancer at that time. His continuous writing about the way he was being treated and the way his body was responding provides very useful inputs about the treatment and after effects. He appeared to enjoy the fight with Cancer and did not mind sharing all personal medical details with the readers of his blogs. Many readers well known to him had told him that he was boasting about his cancer! He was also very relieved after the treatment, that he could resume his two tots of whiskey in the evening.
The second time when it resurfaced, it came back with vengeance and Raman did not have the same fight left in him with successive chemo therapies and radiation treatment. It played merry hell with his persona and even affected the frequency of his writings. The rapid spread of cancer affected his vital organs and even his brain. He preferred not to meet any one during the last days of his life to the extent possible. The last days were spent under the care of his elder brother Mr BS Raghavan (who he called papa fondly), the well-known former bureaucrat.
He had made Chennai as his home and was a significant contributor to the think tanks in Chennai. In addition to the Institute of Topical Studies of which he was the President, he was part of Observer Research Foundation and the Chennai Center for China Studies which was his baby. He left the ORF due to differences with the management of ORF in New Delhi. I personally am indebted to Mr Raman for bringing me in to the think tank fraternity. I have learnt a lot from him to shape my own second innings in the academic circle. I consider him to be my mentor and guide in so many ways. Soon after my retirement, I used to participate in conference and presented papers. He asked me to join ORF way back in 2004 after a major conference in which I presented a paper in New Delhi. However, I took some time in responding due to my own commitments and finally joined ORF in June 2005. He remained much focused in what he wanted out of me and tasked me to lead the Future Terrorism project with the assistance of three researchers in Chennai and two researchers in New Delhi. The task was gigantic and we were able to finish it on schedule. However, by that time Raman had left ORF and the document did not see the light of the day. Also with in a fortnight of my joining ORF, he wanted me to bring out a fortnightly edition Maritime Terrorism News Monitor. This was again accomplished and the team was able to keep up the tempo for over six months. Again due to change of policies, these two projects were shelved.
As a professional, Raman was par excellence and was a perfectionist. He had the memory of an elephant and was able to quote dates, events and people with authority to support his arguments. The talk on China which was delivered ex tempore at a joint conference of Center for Asia Studies, Chennai Center for China Studies and Institute of South Asian Studies a few years ago stands out for the sheer brilliance of erudite analysis and crystal gazing about the prospects for the two Asian powers. The thousands of articles which are available on many websites on wide ranging subjects gives an idea of the depth of knowledge and the analytical ability of an incisive mind. Having personally involved in many covert operations, he maintained that the Nation must retain the ability to pay back our adversaries in the same coin. He did say that perhaps, Gujral made a mistake in dismantling all the cross border covert capability of India which was painstakingly built for decades prior to Gujral becoming the Prime Minister.
On many occasions we used to say that as the explosions are taking place in some corner or the other, his article would take shape between explosions to provide the most authentic analysis with authoritative references from much writings/discourses. Till cancer came in the way, he traveled extensively around the globe and was the most sought after strategic analyst. All the national and regional TVs made bee line to seek his participation on the panels on wide ranging subjects affecting national security. Even after the first attack of cancer when he recovered, he traveled mostly to New Delhi and contributed significantly to the task force headed by Mr Naresh Chandra .Having been a member of the National Security Advisory Board and also having been closely involved with nuances of national security, he was passionately involved in this project and doubtlessly, his inputs would have ensured that the right prescriptions are contained in the document of immense significance to national security.
At a personal level he was great human being and enjoyed laughing heartily while narrating some of the humourous episodes. He remained concerned about the people who he worked with and never lost an opportunity to check on the welfare and health of his acquaintances. He made it a habit to update himself about people and organisations whenever he had a chance. There was a child like exuberance when it came to discussions and interactions with those he knew well.
He remained a nationalist and fiercely patriotic till the last breath. With his vision and contribution to the National Security Apparatus and strategic thinking, the nation would remain ever grateful for his contribution both while he was in service during sensitive times and also post retirement when he pursued academic and strategic work. With his loss, India has lost a great strategist, a genious and counter terrorism expert whose work is acknowledged globally and will continue to be quoted for many decades to come. Many friends and associates will miss a great friend a wonderful human being of rare qualities. His professionalism, patriotism, great personal virtues and infectious zeal for hard work are worthy of emulation. He has left an indelible mark in defining national security objectives and in providing options for enhanced preparedness of India in the 21st century.
The departure of the spy master who articulated meaningful debate on security in modern media
| by Nilantha Ilangamuwa
(June 18, 2013, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) News came bit late, but it is confirmed! He left us! He never remained silent! At times he was frustrating! He expressed his anger in words many times! He opposed violence! At times he was eager to earn a nationalistic image even at his retired stage. He impressed those he came across promoting nationalism. His happiness seemed to go into hiding somewhere in the ladder of life but his face always appeared before us in a deep thoughtful mood. He is an icon of personal liberty! As a writer, he never influenced anyone to change their position or view point but always attempted to express himself clearly.
Since I came to know him in 2007 he has only once maintained a long period of silence from his writing and that was from the end of last month until his departure from us on last Sunday. Bahukutumbi Raman, the man whom I have known for a long period of time was an admirable charismatic writer on security and had real affection for the Sri Lanka Guardian since it started. His contribution attracted some silly political henchmen to cultivate germs against the Sri Lanka Guardian. They claimed that the website was none other than a shadow of the Research and Analysis Wing, of an Indian external intelligence agency, which was at one time an extensively influential espionage outfit and political tool of the losers in the Subcontinent.
Bahukutumbi Raman is no more! We have lost one of our frontline writers! He never claimed that he was an expert on the subject; but others categorized him in many ways.
Mr. Raman personally influenced me in many ways and we talked often, freely sharing our feelings. At times he tweeted on my work as a journalist. He was one among the few who honestly observed my work and maintained linkage of magnitude.
During our very first meeting in Chennai he recalled his experiences when he was in Sri Lanka. “I was there not so often but occasionally had to go Sri Lanka, when the Government had special work. During the time when President Premadasa was there, I had an order for a special meeting with him. We scheduled the meeting for the day following the day I arrived in Colombo,” He said.
“I was only five minutes late, then the President informed that he was unable to meet me because he had arranged some other work,” he added while assessing that President Premadasa was a rare leader who was particular about time and had his own plans, unlike most of the other politicians in the region. He had to return to New Delhi without meeting President Premadasa.
Unfortunately the meeting I had with Mr. Bahukutumbi Raman was misinterpreted by some of the local media, especially by one editor with no dignity or respect for his profession. Like an eagle looking for a corpse from which to drag a piece of meat, that person was also eager to amass his wealth in any way he could, while engaging in nihilistic irrational assessments about others. The chat that I had with Raman was reported by the media saying that I as being a R&AW operative in Colombo and had received a special request from the R & AW to meet, Raman and other high-level officials of the agency in Chennai and New Delhi.
The day the media reported my meeting with Mr. Raman, I received many calls and emails even from some diplomats. Eventually I ignored them as utter rubbish published against me and my professional work. However the agenda behind the dirty trick was much larger than I had thought. Imagination does not always give one a real assessment of the threats from adversaries, but it makes one aware of what one has to walk through.
This is what is in our culture; when you want to destroy someone, the easiest way of eliminating him/her is by creating bitter rubbish on the person and spreading it within the community. This theory was developed by Joseph Goebbels in Germany, and today many confirm this. For example, Dr. Paul Roberts said in his column published recently, by Media prostitutes formed by corporate operators. However, my belief in myself has given me the energy to overcome the destructive emotions created by others, while working to ensure that I understand the different faces of mankind and their behaviour.
However; in our short conversation on the story created by the ugly person who ran a media outlet, Mr. B. Raman gave neither a long opinion nor explanation but being a skillful writer he simply said, “Ignore them but make sure to continue what you are doing. You are safe as long as you do not engage in wrongdoing”.
Time has passed! The man who was married to writing and later lived with his disease reserved for us many values that we all can find meaningful in many ways. For him personal difficulties were blessings to think about resulting in him articulating his thoughts into meaningful debate to benefit both sides.
“I feel happy. I feel good. But I am avoiding any feelings of exaltation. As one reaches the age of 75, the health gets into a zig-zag mode, whatever be the illness. One can never say when a zig can turn into a zag and vice versa,” he wrote in 2011.
I have no comments about his work as a spy master during the most crucial political and military periods in the region. I’m unaware of the details of that work except his account published under the title, “The Kaoboys of R&AW”. But I would like to recall here the words of late-Mr. Maloy Krishna Dhar, who was the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, expressed during the interview at his residence, couple of years ago; “Unlike most of the agents who work in Indian intelligence agencies, Raman is an extraordinary character. He never used his profession to show up his power, and he is continuing his work even after retirement.”
“There are many accounts on the R&AW, published over the last few years. But many of them were cynically exaggerated by those authors. But, “The Kaoboys of R&AW” is a real account that made a strong impact on the agency unlike others that tended to give meaningless horrific thrills to readers,” the late Maloy Krishna Dhar who has passed away last year, added.
Bahukutumbi Raman's departure leaves a vacuum which is impossible to fill even with time! Raman is Raman; no one can become a blue print of him. He carried his uniqueness along his entire journey. But there is a lot to learn from the legend that Bahukutumbi Raman has become. He is the man from an old generation who used new technology to express rare intelligentsia.
| by Shenali D Waduge
( June 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) There are plenty of people in competition with the Government claiming to know what is best for the people of Sri Lanka. So let us work upon the premise that their work is solely to ensure the masses, especially the downtrodden and poor are given the best of State services. Given that we assume that all what these representatives from forums, organizations and association say and do connotes to mean that they care for the people ideally what they should be demanding is the complete removal of the Provincial Council system because for 24 years it has offered zero-service to the people who matter and the scale of crimes and abuse committed by these provincial councils is enough reason not to continue to support a system. So why do these organizations demand the continuance of the 13th amendment and the provincial council system?
Here are the reasons why we need to categorically tell the Government that they need to take immediate action on the PC system and not simply be satisfied to take case by case disciplinary action which is simply to remove party membership and deny nomination. That cane strategy has not stopped the increase in crimes in the least.
2013 - Crimes and Abuse in Provincial Councils
· UPFA North Western Provincial Council arrested for making a teacher kneel at his feet
· North Western Provincial Councillor of the UNP arrested for attacking vehicle of fellow MP
· UNP Sabragamuwa Provincial Councillor arrested for assaulting 2 foreigners
· Attanagalle Magistrate’s Court impounded the passport of Deputy Petroleum Industries Minister after the case against him for issuing death threats and kidnapping of a child in 2009 was taken up in court.
· Rambewa PS Opposition Leader remanded for swindling Rs.1million from a village death society fund.
· Ridimaliyadda PS Chairman arrested for assaulting a 49 year old woman and her 21 year old daughter.
· Embilipitiya PS Chairman surrenders after absconding for a week on charges of assaulting 2 police officers.
· Embilipitiya PS Deputy Chairman is issued notice for not appearing in court charged for driving 8000 cattle into Maduru Oya National Park, where it is illegal to graze.
· Karuwalagaswewa PS Chairman assaults 18 year old. The same PS Chairman warned for drunken misbehavior in 2012.
· UPFA Karandeniya PS member remanded for molesting 36year old woman
· Deputy Chairmn of Akurana PS arrested for attacking another PS member.
· Moratuwa Deputy Mayor arrested by CID for killing a Chief Monk
2012 - Crimes and Abuse in Provincial Councils
· Central provincial councilor involved in school admission racket
· Ruling party Tangalle local government councilor and 2 others surrender for raping 13 year old
· Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha arrested for sexually abusing a 14-year-old
· Central Provincial Health Minister arrested for assaulting a specialist doctor at the Kandy General hospital.
· Ruling party Pradeshiya Sabha member arrested for assaulting employee of the Badulla Water Board office.
· UNP member of Galenbindunuwewa PS arrested for assaulting a resident in a nearby area
· Ridigama PS member arrested for hurling stones at a vehicle of a Kurunegala District parliamentarian
· UPFA member of Warakapola PS arrested for assaulted a 72 year old woman in Dedigama.
· Wattegama UC Chairman surrenders after assaulting fruit vendor in Wattegama.
· Mawathagama PS Chairman arrested for assaulting a 28 year old.
· UNP Southern PC arrested by Akmeemana police for causing traffic congestion in their drunken state.
· Balapitiya PS Vice Chairman arrested and fined for unruly behavior due to liquor.
· Ruling party Kelaniya PS member arrested for creating a commotion with residents over garbage issue
· Kalutara PS Chairman arrested by Bribery officials for accepting 3million bribe from a property developer.
· PS member arrested for involvement in double killing of mother and daughter in Kahawatte, Ratnapura
· UNP Southern Provincial Councillor known as “raththaran” arrested for disrupting traffic police
· Member Horana Pradeshiya Sabha arrested for felling a jak tree without license
· Member of Sapugaskanda Pradeshiya Sabha arrested for taking bribes from those transporting sand without license
· Secretary to a Minister arrested for taking Rs.2.6milion bribe.
· Member of Mahawa Pradeshiya Sabha arrested for killing a deer
· Vice Chairman Eastern PC arrested for threatening and abusing Trinco Court staff
· Member of Western PC arrested for murder of a millionaire
· Coordinating Secretary of a Kalutara Deputy Minister abducting a Pradeshiya Sabha member
· Chairman Karuwalagaswewa Pradeshiya Sabha assaults staff member of the PS
In 2012 alone 42 politicians belonging to the provincial councils have been filed with legal action.
2011 - Crimes and Abuse in Provincial Councils
· Killing of a British national in Tangalle by Tangalle PS Chairman and 8 others as well as sexually assaulting his girlfriend.
2010 – Crimes and Abuse in Provincial Councils
· UPFA Western Provincial Councillor arrested for murder of millionaire in Anamaduwa
Yes, the defense establishment are ensuring that these criminals are being arrested and charged, a scenario that was non-existent previously but at what cost is all this and do we need to put up with this any longer?
We are all well aware that the PC system came about after India forced Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord in 1987 and therafter to amend its Constitution to introduce a system that replicated the federal system in India. Those drafting the amendment and PC system on behalf of Sri Lanka must have forgotten the size of Sri Lanka or its population as compared to that of India.
Anyway the Constitution of Sri Lanka was forced to accept the 13th amendment and PC system on 14 November 1987.
India’s reason for the 13th amendment was that it would address Sri Lanka’s “ethnic” problem. Agreeing to the 13th amendment was UNP, SLMP of Vijaya Kumaratunga, CP, LSSP and NSSP – we demand to know from them where the ethnic problem is and how in 24 years has the ethnic problem being solved? If it hasn’t been solved in 24 years and the terrorist problem was solved in 3 years it certainly shows these political parties that they have erred. Now some of these members are MPs enjoying backdoor privileges and yet using their office to undermine the national security of the nation.
Of course it was anyones guess as to why India insisted the merger of North and East subject to a referendum within a year which was never held and the demerger of the 2 provinces took place after the JVP filed an FR and successfully demerged the 2 provinces in 2006. With that precedent some advisors have fooled the President into agreeing to simply passing a bill removing his right to merge 2 or more provinces. Maybe the best option is to merge all the provinces and make it into a unitary state which is what Sri Lanka has to be and nothing else.
A good look at the 24 years that the PC system has functioned reveals not so much the lack of delegation of powers which is often a complaint made against the Government but if the simple things that the PCs are assigned to do are not done, how can they be empowered to do far more serious matters? And with such a crime wave these PCs are asking for parliamentary privileges along the lines that the Government MPs are given – we shudder to think how they will use these privileges given the scale of crimes that exist.
When funds are allocated if they misappropriate those funds instead of utilizing them for basic requirements for the people of these provinces should anyone but they be blamed for their inability to perform instead of complaining that PCs cannot even transfer a laborer or summon a high government official. When we see the type of characters that get elected to these PCs would any official wish to even meet them and find their fate no different to what happened to a teacher who was forced to kneel infront of a PC member inside her own class. What a traumatizing experience for the teacher and what message does it give to children who are already victims of a poor education system?
Yes, political parties are to blame – it is they who claim to carry out stringent campaigns to select their nominees and what do they produce – the above records show the results. So if political parties do not encourage professionals and learned people who are respected by the people of the province and rely on thugs and goons to nominate naturally we know where Sri Lanka’s political stature is going to lead and no political parties will end up producing leaders for tomorrow and leaders who would serve the nation without plundering it.
There are many reasons why India’s 13th a and its PC system should be thrown into the bin – with such an incompetent lot of people, PCs that cannot even draft statutes (laws) and end up having to send to the AG’s department where it gathers dust, or when they cannot represent their case at the Financial Commission yet what is the use when they end up spending funds allocated on nothing that serves the province – we need to now say that the Government has to seriously address this once and for all.
Maintaining provincial councils is an unnecessary burden on the people. That money could easily be used for proper welfare measures and not to fatten the purses of PC members and their families. For 5 years people have to endure tremendous suffering and if they decide to choose the opposite camp the story is no different either.
Lets hear it from the horses mouths: “ most provincial ministers and members are only interested in the enlistment of their families and not that of the people. They want to make money. So when the centre doesn’t give money and the members get keen on making money, there is no purpose of provincial councils”. Gamini Jayawickreme Perera ( UNP). Former Chief Minister, Wayamba Province.
Rs.60million was spent to maintain 114 members of 3 PCs (Eastern, Sabaragamuwa, North Central)
Rs.650million was spent by the Elections Department to hold 3 elections.
How many Provinces still suffer from the lack of basic amenities like a decent road? How much of funds is needed to put some gravel on to a muddy road so that the children don’t get splattered with mud before going to school and pregnant mothers don’t risk falling and hurting themselves or the elderly escape injury too?
The Government does not need to spoon feed PC members into prioritizing what they need to do. Even the Municipalities for that matter – how much of money do they waste and then bemoan that they need more funds to eradicate dengue when they don’t come to pick the garbage on time or clean the drains and the people end up having to pay the municipality to collect their garbage as well as hire laborers to clear the public drains.
If the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council Abdul Majeed Mohammed says that “Sri Lanka doesn’t need provincial councils” that is a start and it is time that the others stop hiding behind various masks in view of what merits their existence and put the country before self for a change.
The ranaviruwo and the Defense Secretary has led the way by eradicating terrorism and now 4 years after that victory the politicians are still dabbling away picking straws without doing what they are voted to power to do. They are not voted to please India.
When the organizations that profess to also be concerned about the public carry placards and send aggrieved notes to foreign climes bemoaning that the Government is diluting the 13th amendment and thinking of abolishing the PC system they are no different to the PC members listed above because by wanting such a system to exist they are only encouraging crimes against people. That shows their true colors too.
We are at a critical juncture. If the armed forces led by Defense Secretary cleaned the stables and eradicated the terrorists it is now time to clean the political stable starting with removing all the foreign imposed legislatures beginning with the 13th amendment and the PC system and introducing an indigenous one. Nothing is impossible to do if there is a will to do it. If we successfully introduced and ran an indigenous rehabilitation and reintegration program while the West still has scores of prisoners in don’t know where locations, the previously functioning district councils are the best solution. Moreover, it would be good for the political parties to put an end to nominating goons and thugs and start to nurture people of respect and until such time the people must stop casting their votes for such characters without complaining after voting for them.
As for the organizations professing to be concerned about the people – we now know that their concern has nothing to do with the interest of the people of Sri Lanka.
JP Morgan’s Man in the White House
| by John Stanton
( June 18, 2013, Virginia, Sri Lanka Guardian) At one time, it seems decades ago now, the general thinking in the USA was that President Barack Obama would jolt the American political system into actually doing something beneficial for its citizens rather than spying on them, building F-35 aircraft, upgrading nuclear weapons, spending trillions of dollars (US) on national security, cutting unemployment benefits/food stamps, fomenting war with Iran, Syria, China and Russia; and dragging out the war in Afghanistan.
It is a damn shame!! Why? Why?
Sadly, Barack Obama’s legacy will be one of ashes. The destruction of America’s social fabric; the implementation of a surveillance corporate-state; assassination and negation of Habeas; and a perpetual state of emergency/war economy will come to dominate the historical narrative on the Obama presidency. President Obama will also go down in US history as the American President who paved the way for the financial industry to dismantle Social Security. With the Executive Powers he has accrued and newly created, future American President’s will, by fiat, be able to sell off national park lands and other US assets, even the nation’s artwork: citizens of Detroit, Michigan and Greece, Eurozone, are undergoing the pillaging now (see below Greece Memo, Detroit Creditors).
JP Morgan provides the rationale: Constitutions, like many in Europe and the USA in the post-industrial era, are too “socialist” and written at a time when dictatorships flourished. JP Morgan believes that should change for the sake of capital flows (see below: JP Morgan Halfway There).
The US Homeland is in serious need of repair. And it is not just the physical infrastructure that Americans take for granted that needs fixing: roads, runways, sewage systems, water, electricity and the like—it is also the American consciousness both individual and collective that requires revision and regeneration. There’s no time for time for nostalgic looks to past days. The good old days were nothing of the sort as the US elite inflicted some pretty severe damage to the American psyche. Just think of legalized racism/segregation and the Vietnam War. Then there were the alterations, whether by groups or individuals, that literally changed the course of US history: the killings of JF Kennedy, ML King, RF Kennedy, Medgar Evers and Malcolm X. Like them or hate them, America has never produced any dynamic leader(s) since that can match their individual and collective standards. And each one of them was “American” to the core.
Better in 2013 than 1963: But Protests, Malcolm X Apply
That said, Americans would do well to look to the protests of the 1960’s and early 1970’s that would ultimately bring out millions from all levels of society to make their collective voices heard to end a senseless war (Vietnam), stop mindless discrimination (women, minorities), and strike for better wages/benefits (US Postal strike in 1970—Nixon use of executive power controversial).
The time for listening to the blatherskites that hold power has passed.
“The people in power have abused and it is time for a change,” said Malcolm X in a blistering oratory, quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Oxford Debate Union in 1964. “If you sit around waiting for those in power to change things, you will be waiting for a long time. In my opinion the young generation of Whites, Blacks, Browns--and whatever else there is—are living in a time of extremism, a time of revolution…And there has to be a change…A better world needs to be built and the only way that is going to happen is by extreme methods…I will join with anyone, I don’t care what color you are as long as you want to change the miserable condition that exists on this Earth.”
That “miserable condition” will return with vengeance absent opposition from the multitudes.
The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse have arrived: Democrats, Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives are riding roughshod over Americans young and old. They are trampling, with impunity, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights and the ideals within the Declaration of Independence. Their ideologies blind them from seeing the damage they are doing. They speak only to each other through the mainstream media/websites and not to the American people. The citizens of the USA are little more than a compliant audience.
Americans need to respond to this by asking and answering some key questions. How much more low intensity conflict? How many civilian and military suicides are tolerable? How many more mass shootings at home? How many more vapid statements from politicians and military leaders? How many more school closings, furloughs, layoffs? How many more cities like Detroit left to the Hedge Fund and JP Morgan vultures? How much more intrusion by the American corporate-state (one dare not use the “F” word) into the lives of US citizens and millions more around the globe? How many more “big lies” on the economy and security? How much longer is the Cold War going to last (pivot to Asia and missile defense systems ringing Russia/China)? Why so much child poverty which sees Save the Children so active in America?
And just what does it mean to be an American citizen? Is Rahm Emanuel, the current Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, a good example? The same Rahm Emanuel that chose to volunteer with the Israeli Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War instead of with the US Army? What about those USA corporate citizens who pay no taxes and offshore jobs?
So what’s the game plan for your struggling city, town, state or region?
How useful would a program like the National Security Agency’s PRISM, or TRAPWIRE, be in rounding up those protesting in the USA against austerity, asset sales, pension robbing, child poverty and unemployment?
JP Morgan: The Euro area adjustment--About Halfway There (28 May 2013)
“At the start of the crisis, it was generally assumed that the national legacy problems were economic in nature. But, as the crisis has evolved, it has become apparent that there are deep seated political problems in the periphery, which, in our view, need to change if EMU [Eurozone] is going to function properly in the long run. The political systems in the periphery were established in the aftermath of dictatorship, and were defined by that experience. Constitutions tend to show a strong socialist influence, reflecting the political strength that left wing parties gained after the defeat of fascism. Political systems around the periphery typically display several of the following features: weak executives; weak central states relative to regions; constitutional protection of labor rights; consensus building systems which foster political clientalism; and the right to protest if unwelcome changes are made to the political status quo.
The shortcomings of this political legacy have been revealed by the crisis. Countries around the periphery have only been partially successful in producing fiscal and economic reform agendas, with governments constrained by constitutions (Portugal), powerful regions (Spain), and the rise of populist parties (Italy and Greece). There is a growing recognition of the extent of this problem, both in the core and in the periphery. Change is beginning to take place. Spain took steps to address some of the contradictions of the post-Franco settlement with last year’s legislation enabling closer fiscal oversight of the regions. But, outside Spain little has happened thus far…the process of political reform has barely begun.”
Citigroup--Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer March 2006
“The data shows that the gap in incomes and wealth between the rich and the poor in the US shows no signs of significant change, and that the richest 10 and 20% of Americans continue to earn disproportionately high chunks of national income, and own an even higher share of the national wealth…While the average consumer might not be feeling great, the important consumers – the richest 20%, who account, as we’ve shown, for 58% of income – are in good shape…Finally, the dollar. The perma-bears told us that the current account deficit in the US was too high. It could only be lowered by raising the savings rate of the household sector which in turn would only be accomplished by rising interest rates and/or a dollar collapse. We disagree. To us plutonomists, the current account deficit is largely a function of the savings…rate, which is a function of the propensity to save by the rich. As we highlighted above, they are rationally consuming out of their stock of wealth (which incidentally, keeps going up) as well as from their incomes. To them, dollar devaluations are a mild inconvenience, but not a reason to change their spending and dis-savings habits…”
Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality between Greece and Financiers (9 February 2012)
“The Government [of Greece] will neither propose nor implement measures which may infringe the rules on the free movement of capital. Neither the State nor other public bodies will conclude shareholder agreements with the intention or effect of hindering the free movement of capital or influence the management or control of companies. The Government will neither initiate nor introduce any voting or acquisition caps, and it will not establish any disproportionate and non-justifiable veto rights or any other form of special rights in privatized companies. No further special rights will be introduced in the course of future privatization projects. The Government publishes and updates on a quarterly basis its medium-term staffing plans per department, for the period up to 2015, in line with the rule of 1 recruitment for 5 exits. The recruitment/exit rule applies to the general government as a whole. The staffing plans should be consistent with the target of reducing public employment by 150 thousand in end-2010–end-2015. If necessary, the Government will enact temporary hiring freezes…
15,000 redundant staff will be transferred to the labor reserve in the course of 2012, in connection with the identification of entities or units that are closed or downsized. Staff in the labor reserve will be paid at 60 percent of their basic wage (excluding overtime and other extra payments) for not more than 12 months, after which they will be dismissed. This period of 12 months may be extended up to 24 months for staff close to retirement. Payments to staff while in the labor reserve are considered part of their severance payments….The minimum wages established by the national general collective agreement will be reduced by 22 percent compared to the level of 1 January 2012; for youth (for ages below 25), the wages established by the national collective agreement will be reduced by 32 percent without restrictive conditions. Clauses in the law and in collective agreements which provide for automatic wage increases, including those based on seniority, are suspended…”
City of Detroit: Proposal for Creditors (14 June 2013)
“Maximize recoveries for creditors…since the City [Detroit] will not generate sufficient cash to pay all liabilities alternatives have to be considered…restructure governance of pension arrangements, maximize collection of taxes and fees that are levied or imposed, generate value from city assets, wage reductions (implemented through imposition of furlough days), caps/reductions on vacation/holiday pay/overtime/sick days, the reduction of pension multipliers, and changes to healthcare coverage… Prohibits Detroit’s local elected officials from exercising any powers as authorized in writing by Mr. Orr [appointed emergency manager] and subject to any conditions he may impose [Orr later reinstated Detroit city’s mayor and city council]…The City must reduce employment costs for both represented and unrepresented workers as part of its restructuring…Representatives of the Emergency Manager met with representatives that currently operate the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to discuss the art collection exhibited there… DIA contends that the collection is held by a public trust and cannot be used for any purpose other than exhibition or to maintain and enhance the collection itself…Further dialogue is anticipated…”
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at email@example.com. His newest book is Cyber Noodles and Orphan Nukes at amazon.com.
| by Paul Craig Roberts
( June 18, 2013, Washington DC, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the 21st century the two hundred year-old propaganda that the American people control their government has been completely shattered. Both the Bush and Obama regimes have made it unmistakenly clear that the American people don’t even influence, much less control, the government. As far as Washington is concerned, the people are nothing but chaff in the wind.
Polls demonstrate that 65% of the US population opposes US intervention in Syria. Despite this clear indication of the people’s will, the Obama regime is ramping up a propaganda case for more arming of Washington’s mercenaries sent to overthrow the secular Syrian government and for a “no-fly zone” over Syria, which, if Libya is the example, means US or NATO aircraft attacking the Syrian army on the ground, thus serving as the air force of Washington’s imported mercenaries, euphemistically called “the Syrian rebels.”
Washington declared some time ago that the “red line” that would bring Syria under Washington’s military attack was the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons of mass destruction against Washington’s mercenaries. Once this announcement was made, everyone with a brain immediately knew that Washington would fabricate false intelligence that Assad had used chemical weapons, just as Washington presented to the United Nations the intentional lie via Secretary of State Colin Powell that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Remember National Security Advisor Condi Rice’s image of a “mushroom cloud over American cities?” Propagandistic lies were Washington’s orders of the day.
And they still are. Now Washington has fabricated the false intelligence, and president obama has announced it with a straight face, that Syria’s Assad has used sarin gas on several occasions and that between 100 and 150 “of his own people,” a euphemism for the US supplied foreign mercenaries, have been killed by the weapon of mass destruction.
Think about that for a minute. As unfortunate as is any death from war, is 100-150 deaths “mass destruction?” According to low-ball estimates, the US-sponsored foreign mercenary invasion of Syria has cost 93,000 lives, of which 150 deaths amounts to 0.0016.
In other words, 92,850 of the deaths did not cross the “red line.” But 150 did, allegedly.
Yes, I know. Washington’s position makes no sense. But when has it ever made any sense?
Let’s stretch our minds just a tiny bit farther. Assad knows about Washington’s “red line.” It has been repeated over and over in order to create in the minds of the distracted American public that there is a real, valid reason for attacking Syria. Why would Assad use the proscribed weapons of mass destruction in order to kill a measly 100-150 mercenaries when his army is mopping up the US mercenaries without the use of gas and when Assad knows that the use of gas brings in the US military against him?
As the Russian government made clear, Washington’s accusation is not believable. No informed person could possibly believe it. No doubt, many Americans wearing patriotism on their sleeves will fall for Washington’s latest lie, but no one else in the world will. Even Washington’s NATO puppets calling for attacking Syria know that the justification for the attack is a lie. For the NATO puppets, Washington’s money overwhelms integrity, for which the rewards are low.
The Russians certainly know that Washington is lying. The Russian Foreign Minister Larov said: “The [Assad] government, as the opposition is saying openly, is enjoying military success on the ground. The [Assad] regime isn’t driven to the wall. What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms–especially in such small amounts.”
Larov is a relatively civilized person in the role of Russia’s main diplomat. However, other Russian officials can be more pointed in their dismissal of Washington’s latest blatant lies. Yury Ushakov, an aide to Russian President Putin said: “The Americans tried to present us with information on the use of chemical weapons by the [Assad] regime, but frankly we thought that it was not convincing. We wouldn’t like to invoke references to [the infamous lies of] Secretary of State Powell [at the UN alleging Iraqi WMD], but the facts don’t look convincing in our eyes.” Aleksey Pushkov, the chairman of the Russian Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, cut to the chase. “The data about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush’s path.”
Here in America no one will ever hear straight talk like this from the US presstitutes.
Orwellian double-speak is now the language of the United States government. Secretary of State john kerry condemned Assad for harming “peace talks” while the US arms its Syrian mercenaries.
Washington’s double-speak is now obvious to the world. Not only Assad, but also the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and every US puppet state which includes all of NATO and Japan, are fully aware that Washington is again lying through its teeth. The Russians, Chinese, and Iranians are trying to avoid confrontation with Washington, as war with the modern nuclear weapons would destroy all life on planet earth. What is striking is that despite 24/7 brainwashing by the presstitutes, a large majority of the American population opposes obama’s war on Syria.
This is good news. It means more Americans are developing the ability to think independently of the lies Washington feeds to them.
What the neocon nazis, the bush/obama regime, and the presstitute media have made
clear is that Washington is going to push its agenda of world hegemony to the point of
starting World War III, which, of course, means the end of life on earth.
Russia and China, either one of which can destroy the United States, have learned that the US government is a liar and cannot be trusted. The Libyan “no-fly” policy to which Russia and China agreed turned out to be a NATO air attack on the Libyan army so that the CIA-sponsored mercenaries could prevail.
Russia and China, having learned their lesson, are protesting Washington’s assault on Syria that Washington pretends is a “civil war.” If Syria falls, Russia and China know that Iran is next.
Iran is Russia’s underbelly, and for China Iran is 20% of its energy imports. Both Russian and Chinese governments know that after Iran falls, they are next. There is no other explanation for Washington surrounding Russia with missile bases and surrounding China with naval and air bases.
Both Russia and China are now preparing for the war that they see as inevitable. Washington’s crazed, demented drive for world hegemony is bringing unsuspecting Americans up against two countries with hydrogen bombs whose combined population is five times the US population. In such a conflict everyone dies.
Considering the utterly insane government ruling in Washington, if human life exists in 2020, it will be a miracle. All the worry about future Medicare and Social Security deficits is meaningless. There will be no one here to collect the benefits.
Addendum: If the report below from RT is accurate, it seems obvious that the ignorant and evil denizens of Washington, D.C., are driving the world to World War III. http://rt.com/news/iran-troop-deployment-syria-782/
Addendum: Russia says it will not allow Syria no-fly zones. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35318.htm
Addendum: Once again Washington demonstrates that it is home to the most stupid people on earth: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-to-send-4000-troops-to-aid-president-assad-forces-in-syria-8660358.html?printService=print
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
| by Dayan Jayatilleka
( June 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Three bad ideas in one week?
One is that the UNP will boycott the Parliamentary Select Committee. Another is that the 17th Amendment must be reintroduced before the Northern Provincial Council election. The third is that a referendum should be held on the subject of the retention or abolition of the 13th Amendment.
It is understandable that the TNA is reluctant to participate in a PSC. The point made by that party is that the goal posts have been shifted. A PSC was not mentioned at the commencement of the talks with the Government and was certainly not stipulated as mandatory.
The TNA says it does not reject participation but that the talks with the Government should achieve some degree of consensus which could be than taken to the PSC. The lousy conduct of the UPFA MPs in the PSC towards the former Chief Justice gives considerable credibility to the TNA’s position.
This is not true of the UNP. Last year it said that it would boycott the PSC if the TNA did not participate. Its point, more or less, was that a PSC to resolve the ethnic issue would be like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark were the TNA to stay away.
If that argument held any water, it no longer does. The UNP is not the TNA nor is it a coalition partner of the latter, and I hope it knows the difference, though many voters probably think it doesn’t.
That general point apart, the deliberations of the proposed PSC will affect the interests of the UNP quite directly. If the proposal that changes can be made to the powers of the PCs with the concurrence of a majority rather than of all existing PCs, then a UNP-ruled PC can find itself divested of its powers, thereby pre-empting the possibility of an Opposition-led PC proving a developmental success and serving as an electoral lever for change. The UNP must surely participate in the PSC, ally with the progressives among the Government’s representatives and prevent such retrogression. To stay away would be plain bad.
The next bad idea is that the 17th Amendment must be reintroduced before the election to the Northern PC is held. Now that would be nice indeed but it ain’t gonna happen and the UNP Leader who has made the suggestion has no way of enforcing it. He probably thinks the Commonwealth would do so, but then again he thought that George W. Bush would make Chandrika return the portfolios she took away from him. Instead, she held an election which he lost, after a brief two-year stint as the PM.
The choice today is to hold the northern election this September with or without the 17th Amendment or wait till the 17th Amendment is reintroduced. Now the latter proposition would suit those hawks in Government who do not wish to hold an election. I trust that was not the intention of the Opposition Leader.
The crucial battle now is to keep the 13th Amendment intact in all its essentials, block the neoconservative counter-reformation, hold the election in September and count on the Commissioner of Elections, the world’s media and international observers to keep that election fair and transparent.
The race is a close one but the worst idea around is possibly the one that a national referendum should be held on the retention or abolition of the 13th Amendment. That gem of wisdom comes from the JHU and NFF but has been picked up by opinion makers closer to the Opposition leadership. Those who advocate it like to see themselves as patriots, but their suggestion gravely undermines the national interest. It is evident that the advocates of a referendum are myopic to the point of inability to see beyond their noses.
Consider the highly probable – I would say, almost certain – result of such a referendum. The Tamils of the north and east will vote against abolition on the 13th Amendment as will the Muslims. There is no Tamil political party in Opposition or with the Government that will support abolition. There is no Muslim party of any significance that will do so either. Most of the Sinhalese, located in the southern two-thirds of the island, will vote for abolition. Except for the Sinhalese in Ampara, the north and east will vote in one direction, the south another.
The bloc of ‘Tamil speaking people,’ a long-standing slogan of Tamil ultranationalists, will be created by this plebiscite. The electoral map will show the north and east re-merged emotionally, psycho-politically; de facto although not de-jure. Worse still, the NO vote will pretty much correspond to the contours of the Tamil Eelam map. The world will see a divided Sri Lanka, with a clearly defined proto-Tamil Eelam.
To compound the stupidity, a referendum would also reveal a NO vote right in the heart or abdomen of the island, the hill country, with a majority of Tamils of recent Indian origin voting against the abolition of the 13th Amendment. What a damaging blow such a political map would be to the achievement of the Sri Lankan armed forces and what a splendid gift to the Tamil Eelamists in Tamil Nadu and the diaspora!
[Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka is a member of the International Expert Group (INTEG) of Security Index, a Russian Journal on international security; the ‘academic and policy quarterly journal’ of the Russian Centre for Policy Studies, Moscow-Geneva-Monterrey.]
Courtesy: Daily FT
| by Dayan Jayatilleka
Courtesy: The Hindu
By pitching their political ambitions higher than the Sri Lankan constitution’s existing provisions on provincial autonomy under the 13th amendment, Tamil nationalists have played into the hands of Sinhalese hardliners
( June 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) A political battle of major proportions, perhaps the most portentous in years, is looming in Sri Lanka this year and is being preceded by a debate amounting to a battle of ideas. The matter at hand is the much delayed and deferred election to the Northern Provincial Council.
Political forces are arrayed in four positions on the battlefield. On the Tamil side there are those who hold that the existing 13th amendment to the Constitution under which the Northern Provincial Council was established, was inadequate from the start and that therefore, contesting the election and holding office would be of no positive consequence, and may even have the negative consequence of legitimising the institution. The other position occupied within the Tamil political spectrum is of those who regard the 13th amendment to be flawed and deeply unsatisfactory, but grasp the value of contesting and winning the election, and occupying the political real estate that remains.
On the Sinhala side are those who wish to abolish the system of provincial autonomy, those who do not and support the system of limited provincial autonomy, and those who seek to retain the bare bones of the system for fear of the external repercussions of abolition, while gutting the provinces of any real measure of autonomy.
At the moment, the predominance on the Tamil side is of the more pragmatic mainstream politicians who would like to occupy whatever political space that opens up, and on the Sinhala side, of those unhappy with provincial autonomy but seek to dilute rather than dismantle it in its entirety.
The major error on the Tamil side was and remains the failure to grasp that the 13th amendment was the best that could be achieved even when the political, or more accurately politico-military, balance was far less in Colombo’s favour. It proved the best deal achievable even with a far more overtly, robust Indian role and power projection.
When the liberal administration of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sought perhaps imprudently to range well beyond the 13th amendment in the form of three political packages in 1995, 1997 and 2000, the efforts were opposed as expected by Sinhala hardliners, but more fatally by the conservative United National Party (UNP) Opposition headed by Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most crucially, President Kumaratunga’s risky, politically ambitious quasi-federal initiatives did not have the acceptance, still less the support, of the parties and personalities (most prominently at the time, the TULF) currently grouped in the Tamil National Alliance.
In its sporadic and ultimately abortive discussions with the administration of President Rajapaksa, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) urged that these drafts of 1995, 1997 and 2000 be taken up for discussion, but those deals were no longer on the table, the Tamil politicians having proved that what was once said so famously by the liberal intellectual Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, of the Palestinian political leaders was also true of them, namely that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Having failed to put sufficient daylight between themselves and the LTTE before the war ended with a decisive disaster for the latter, the Tamil nationalist politicians might have been expected to realise that the 13th amendment was the only fall back available, and that it should be defended doggedly against attempts by the triumphant Sinhala hawks in Colombo to roll it back. However, the TNA not only declined to take the 13th amendment as the explicit basis of negotiations, it initially rejected that structural reform as the starting line. The keynote speech by Mr. R. Sampanthan, the leader of the main Tamil parliamentary party (TNA) at the 14th Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) [the main constituent of the TNA] in May 2012 was in many respects a landmark event. It played into the hands of the neoconservative hardliners within Colombo’s power elite and ruling troika, bringing the bilateral talks to an abrupt halt.
Mr. Sampanthan’s convention address not only stated clearly that the political project lay outside the parameters of both the 13th amendment as well as the structural form of a unitary state, but also provided considerable evidence to the Sri Lankan political leadership that the goal of a sovereign state of and for the Tamils, one in which they enjoy absolute rather than shared or devolved authority, remained the goal.
The ITAK/TNA leader’s speech said “we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka.” Colombo seems to believe that with such a strategic objective in mind, it is logically inevitable that Tamil nationalism will reject, discredit and undermine any solution proposed or arrived at within a united Sri Lanka, especially a solution within a unitary state such as is the 13th amendment.
Mr. Sampanthan, the most prominent local leader of the Northern Tamil community, reiterated at his party’s annual convention its commitment to achieving with the support of the international community, the same “soaring aspirations” that could not be achieved through armed struggle.
By the time the TNA collected its collective wits, the Government had commenced the siege and attrition of the 13th amendment, while the hardliners within and outside were campaigning for outright abolition.
On the Sinhala side, the drive for rollback of provincial autonomy or crippling by means of the removal of any powers with regard to land and its utilisation, fails to grasp the possible blowback of such unilateralism; a unilateralism based on the assumption that the Tamil question in Sri Lanka is a purely internal matter for a sovereign state, and oblivious to the Kissingerian category of “intermestic” issues; those at the interface of the internal and the international.
New Delhi, which failed to militarily support an unambiguously pro-devolution President Kumaratunga during the Tigers’ siege of Jaffna in 2000, did not extend the requested and requisite degree of military support to Mahinda Rajapaksa in an equation that would have linked such support to political progress in lockstep as it were. Instead of simply insisting on the implementation of Sri Lanka’s own constitutional provisions (obviating the need for protracted, problematic talks with the TNA and the reinvention of the wheel), it was persuaded into echoing President Rajapaksa’s promise of 13 Plus. No wonder it finds itself in a dilemma on the next steps.
The anti-Sri Lankan hysteria in Tamil Nadu is reminiscent of the foaming at the mouth in Florida for decades at any mention of Castro’s Cuba. What takes Tamil Nadu beyond Florida is the ubiquity of Tiger symbolism including portraits of Velupillai Prabhakaran, in the pan-Tamilian agitation. In a rich irony of future history, that wave of agitation which rises higher during election year and its aftermath in India may well be exactly what sweeps away his UNP competitor and gifts President Rajapaksa all he needs for re-election to a third term. Given that he is increasingly a human shield for the Sinhala hawks in his ranks or a George Dubya to their Cheney-Rumsfeld, this cannot but have decisive repercussions on Delhi’s protracted efforts to secure a modest if authentic measure of provincial self-rule for the Tamils.
(Dayan Jayatilleka was Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. in Geneva from 2007-09, and until recently, Ambassador to France. He is the author of Long War, Cold Peace: Conflict and Crisis in Sri Lanka, Vijitha Yapa Publishers, 2013.)
| by M. A. Sumanthiran
( June 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Tamil National Alliance has repeatedly pointed out the consistent and continuing failure of the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its promises to the peoples of Sri Lanka. The proposed amendment to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution––currently the only concession to any form of devolution in Sri Lanka––is yet another example of this.
Perhaps, the most significant of the government’s broken promises are those relating to a political settlement. The Sri Lankan government has for several years promised a power-sharing arrangement that will ensure that power is shared equitably amongst the peoples of Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa’s Joint Statement with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon soon after the end of the war in May 2009 contained several assurances relating to a political solution, one of which was
"…to proceed with the implementation of the 13th Amendment…".
Before the end of the war, at the inaugural meeting of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) and its multi-ethnic Experts Committee appointed by the President to assist the APRC, on 11th July 2006, the President said:
"People in their own localities must take charge of their destiny and control their politico-economic environment. … In sum, any solution needs to as a matter of urgency devolve power for people to take charge of their own destiny. … Any solution must be seen as one that stretches to the maximum possible devolution without sacrificing the sovereignty of the country given the background of the conflict."
At the 10th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2009, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe reiterated the President’s pledge, saying,
"Our national discourse has been dominated for decades by an ethnic issue, which requires a political solution as a means to resolve problems. … [o]n a recommendation of the All Party Representatives Committee, we are able to properly implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in 1987."
When the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris visited New Delhi in May 2011, a joint press statement with the Minister of External Affairs of India stated :
"… the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka affirmed his government’s commitment to ensuring expeditious and concrete progress in the ongoing dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka and representatives of Tamil parties. A devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would contribute towards creating the necessary conditions for such reconciliation."
In January 2012, after meeting with President Rajapakse, visiting Indian Minister for External Affairs, S. M. Krishna speaking at a joint press conference with Minister G. L. Peiris, said:
"The Government of Sri Lanka has on many occasions conveyed to us its commitment to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and building on it, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers. We look forward to an expeditious and constructive approach to the dialogue process."
This is not the first such assurance made to the Government of India. On 25th December, the Indian External Affairs spokesman stated
"[I]n this context we have been assured by the government of Sri Lanka on several occasions in the past, of its commitment towards pursuit of a political process … leading to the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and to go beyond, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers and genuine national reconciliation."
It is in this context that the government proposes to strip the 13th Amendment of the limited concession it offers to devolution.
The current framework under the 13th Amendment provides only modest protection to minority peoples in the event that Parliament seeks to legislate on a subject on the Provincial Council List. Article 154(G)(3) is a measure to prevent the central government from legislating on subjects allocated to the Provincial Councils (PCs) without first obtaining the consent of all PCs. Where one or more PC does not consent to a proposed bill, the central government has the power to either pass the bill by a simple majority, in which case the bill will become law applicable only to the Provinces where the PCs agreed to the bill, or to do so by a two thirds majority in which case the bill will become law applicable to the entire country. The government’s proposal to remove this safeguard will in effect render the 13th Amendment in terms of devolution of legislative power meaningless, as the central government at any given time could take away any or all powers vested in the PCs by passing legislation with a simple majority.
Not only has the government failed to keep its many promises to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment and build on it so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers, it shamelessly proposes to strip away the limited concession to devolution that exists! The proposed amendment is majoritarian on two counts. First, it imposes the majority will of PCs on a particular Province by empowering Parliament to enact — through a simple majority — legislation on any Provincial List subject, provided a majority of PCs agree to the proposed Bill. Second, it imposes the majority will of Parliament on a particular Province, as it empowers Parliament to enact such legislation through a simple majority rather than a special majority. A special majority is required only if a majority of PCs disagree with the proposed Bill.
To date, the government has been content with ‘winning the war’ and has made no attempt to take the next necessary step – to win the peace. This failure will make ‘winning the war’ and all its dividends meaningless. The peace can be won only if there is a genuine political will to do so.
It is vital that the Sri Lankan government realises that actions speak louder than words. And so far, when it comes to a genuine political will to arrive at a meaningful political solution, the government’s actions have drowned out its words.
| by Vikram Sood
My friend for 40 years, not 30 as I had Tweeted in my grief, Raman was a core professional. But he was more. Strong on loyalty and professional excellence. Loved irreverent gossip yet immensely secretive professionally. A man seriously and earnestly devoted to his profession for whom detail was everything.
A very private man, it took a while to get to know him after I was sent to understudy him and eventually take over from him, in 1972. There would be days he would be very quiet, not rude, just immersed in whatever he was doing. I could sit there all day and read volumes of intelligence material and leave quietly without even a word. Or not have shown up that day.
There were other days he would be gossipy and cheerful with many stories to tell of his days in Madhya Pradesh recounted with a loud chuckle. He did spend time moulding me, taking me through the paces, the dos and don'ts of an analyst and what makes a career intelligence officer. Over time the bond grew and even when we disagreed, both knew that we merely made a point and moved on.
Our career paths took us along different routes in 1974 but we met again, professionally, in 1983 when I took over from him once again and finally, in August 1994 when he retired. But he did not really retire. Such men rarely do. His frequent assessments, analyses and reports on events were a touchstone for most of us in the business of intelligence reporting and assessments.
All of these are now on his blog for posterity to read and learn. Over time his writings became legendary, like the man himself. Later, he was called in to help the government with the task force on intelligence following the Kargil Review Committee, he became a member of the National Security Advisory Board and once again called to assist in the Naresh Chandra Committee review.
Raman's career took him through tumultuous times of the Cold War, the Indo-Pak war and the Liberation war in Bangladesh of 1971, the Naga and Mizo rebellions and the peace talks, the Sikh insurgency of the 1980s and finally, the ISI led campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s of which the Mumbai bombings of March 1993 were an important and monstrous milestone.
Raman was the only Indian intelligence officer with three books to his credit. Two of them were Intelligence: Past Present and Future and A Terrorist State As a Frontline Ally. He writes about his experiences in his last book, The Kaoboys of R&AW.
In this book, Raman is remarkably chatty as he takes the reader through his days in the intelligence world and its interactions with the powers that be. Raman expresses his anger at the US State Department of the Bill Clinton era pressuring us on Pakistan and the eternal hyphenation between India and Pakistan that was the hall mark of the nineties till Kargil 1999.
His final remark on the US and perhaps the Western attitude is still valid when he says 'An over-anxiety to protect Pakistan from the consequences of its misdeeds still continues to be the defining characteristic of policy making in the State Department.' Secretary of State John Kerry might do himself a favour by heeding Raman's last warning ' ... I am convinced in my mind that if there is an act of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction one day, it would have originated from Pakistani territory.'
The last chapter of this book contains his assessment of the organisation he served so selflessly and his advice for the managers of intelligence in the country. We would do ourselves immense credit if we follow at least some of the ideals and goals he sets out.
Raman the man has passed, Raman the legend remains.