Leftist Parties Divided More than Which Candidate To Help At Upcoming Presidential Elections

Leftist parties in Sri Lanka have divided more than which candidate to help at the upcoming Presidential elections, with the Lanka Sama Samaja Celebration (LSSP) passing a motion to assistance Mahinda Rajapaksa whilst the Nava Sama Samaja Celebration (NSSP) has announced that a choice has not yet been created on which candidate they would assistance.

02b35 sri lanka Ranil Mahinda 2 300x244 Leftist Parties Divided More than Which Candidate To Help At Upcoming Presidential ElectionsThe motion to help Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential election had been proposed abruptly without any notice of a resolution throughout a meeting held to consider some documents submitted to the Central Committee. Despite the fact that senior members such as Lal Wijenayake, Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne Pc, Prof.  Vijaya Kumar, S Ramanathan, Wimal Rodrigo, Keerthi Kariyawasam  and Chameera Perera protested against the motion, it had been passed with 25 members voting in favour of it.

The protesting members have nonetheless informed that the choice is rejected by them and that they will defy it and act independently to support a candidate who will stand for abolition of the executive presidential system.

Meanwhile in a media statement, a group of the Nava Sama Samaja Celebration (NSSP) politbureau members have announced that they have not made a decision to assistance UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe or any other common candidate who will be fielded at the upcoming presidential elections.

They have noted that despite NSSP Common Secretary Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne announcing that they would critically support Ranil Wickremesinghe, no such decision has been produced and that it is only his private view. In their statement, it has also been announced that an agreement has been created with the leftist parties to field a frequent candidate who would represent leftist ideologies.

KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

By Michael Roberts -

f13d4 sri lanka Michael Roberts KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

Dr. Michael Roberts

I.  Michael Roberts: “Setting the Context — Fragments of Data”

The recent ‘recovery’ of Fr. Gaspar Raj’s information on the various ideas and lines of endeavour directed towards saving the LTTE leadership in the dire circumstances confronting them in 2009, together with the interjections of PK Balakrishnan and Muralidhar Reddy that convey indirect information from other sources, provide one with significant wisps of data on the strategic “pursuits” favoured by USA in relation to Sri Lanka in 2008/09. I use the term “pursuits” advisedly here as an omnibus term for the USA’s mixture of goals, a ‘product’ that I hope to clarify, via conjecture and by analytical deduction, in essays to be written after the Wikileaks disclosures of US embassy despatches[1] have been digested.

The information in this respect within the Gaspar Raj item has particular value because this Tamil Jesuit from southern India is a rabid nationalist who has been an ardent supporter of the LTTE and continues to voice extremist claims, including charges of “genocide” levelled at the government of Sri Lanka.[2]

Daya Gamage has recently revealed that the Political Attache at the US embassy in Colombo, one Mike Owens, had this to say on the 6th May 2009 (without, apparently, being fully alive to the fact that the LTTE military capacity was at its last gasp).

33f31 sri lanka KP KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

KP

“Why did [the LTTE] have a following in the beginning? And I think it’s because some in the Tamil community do have legitimate grievances, and we need to find — I think its imperative for Sri Lankans to find a way to give everyone in the community, all Sri Lankans a legitimate voice in their government….. We are trying quietly …… to find a way for the LTTE to surrender arms possibly to a third party in the context of a pause in the fighting, to surrender their arms in exchange for some sort of limited amnesty to at least some members of the LTTE and the beginning of a political process.”[3]

Gamage came into my orbit only in June-July 2014. However, previously in April 2014, without access to the type of material that he has divulged, in a broad-ranging article in Groundviews entitled “Generating Calamity…” I referred to “an unverified thread of rumour suggesting that a couple of US military officers had been introduced to the SL Army HQ in May 2009 to work out the modalities of a possible intervention from the US Pacific Command designed to contain the remaining LTTE forces and rescue the civilians” (Roberts 2014a).

This essay immediately drew a salvo of scornful comments from the assassins who patrol this web site, among them one “Fitzpatrick” or “Fitzpatrick Alex f.” Fitzpatrick once again entered the fray in typical disparaging style early this month of October 2014 when he commented on my article, “AL-Jazeera Video Footage and Reports from the War Front, 7th October 2008,in the Colombo Telegraph web site.

That essay ended thus:

“Birtley’s evaluation was on the mark, though the LTTE’s last stand was not around Mullativu,[7] but centred upon the coastal strip on the eastern side of Nandikadal Lagoon and betwixt lagoon and sea because their high command was anticipating an international rescue operation to avert a “humanitarian disaster.” The pressure and persuasion exerted upon the Tamil civilians of Thamilīlam to move enmasse towards the east as they retreated was designed to seduce such an operation from nations, led by the USA, partial to the survival of the LTTE as a political force. Birtley’s comments thus far in this specific documentary do not reveal any sign that he discerned this aspect of the military-political scenario.

Ignoring the hyperlinks (a manifest act of dishonesty), Fitzpatrick proceeds with majestic sarcasm and a spray of mud: “… ‘designed to seduce such an operation from nations, led by the USA, partial to the survival of the LTTE as a political force.’ Any proof the US wanted this? Not that Roberts will bother with providing evidence. Last time he reported on the war on Groundviews, “Sri Lanka campaign” asked him a series of very relevant question. Which were then transmitted personally by the Groundviews editor (in case he did not read the comment on the site), He went SILENT. So much for journalistic ethics. Maybe this time I will get a reply but I very much doubt it. Are these articles supposed to remind people he has a book out? Are the sales poor? Maybe like the regime found out in Uva, the war is not selling anymore?”

Need it be said here: there is no point in battling such obtuseness and deceit within circumstances and/or ‘battle-sites’ that are weighted in favour of the Fitzpatricks and Native Denizens of this world.  In debate as in war one has to choose one’s sites of tussle whenever feasible. However, those in the public realm who are more honest and less one-eyed have every claim to receive pertinent data and contentions.

Among the material leading me to that conclusion in the article on Al-Jazeera as well as some arguments presented in such essays as “BBC Blind” and “Generating Calamity” was the evidence arising from David Jeyaraj’s enterprise in extracting a detailed Q and A session from Selvarāsa Pathmanāthan, or “KP” as he is known, on 10 August 2010 (Jeyaraj 2011 initially presented within his web site in 2010). A man from Velvittathurai like Pirapāharan, KP had been Velupillai Pirapāharan’s best man at his wedding in Tamilnadu and rendered yeoman service to the LTTE as its international organiser and chief arms procurer[4] from the 1980s till December 2002.[5] In parenthesis let me note that this change of personnel was probably a factor, albeit a secondary one, in the decline of the LTTE.

Then, on 31st December 2008, Pirapāharan telephoned KP and in the course of a long conversation requested KP to resume his purchasing and transport services again, a request KP could not refuse (Jeyaraj 2011: 23-24).[6] As the situation in the Vanni Pocket (see map) worsened, one of KP’s goals, from his location in Thailand and Malaysia, became the rescue of the LTTE leadership. That is why the exchange with Jeyaraj is invaluable. It has been in the internet realm since August 2010, but the character assassination merchants of the cyber-world seem unaware of the treasures it holds. That is why I reproduce a segment that is pertinent to the debate activated by Gamage, Gaspar Raj et al in a domain that I control (while inviting the assassin-merchants to enter the domain if they so wish[7]).

The whole of the Q and A session between Jeyaraj and KP is available as a booklet (2012); but an internet version is now accessible in Three Parts here and here. Readers are encouraged to study the whole.

Let me conclude by noting that this item of evidence and the data in Gamage, Gaspar Raj and my single Wikileaks item to date must be carefully deciphered in order to piece together the programs and measures taken by that self-appointed Police Commissar for the World, namely, USA, to sort out the situation in Sri Lanka — measures that they apparently wished to work out

(A) a ceasefire involving;

(B) a surrender or “lock-out”[8] of LTTE arms;

(C) the promise of a partial amnesty for Tiger leaders and

(D) an US naval and marine operation that would whisk the Tiger leaders to safety.

These, I stress, seem to have been IDEAS that were toyed with. Careful detective work is required to work out HOW FIRMLY each facet was pursued and WHEN PRECISELY and HOW each came to the forefront as actual aim or measure.

To this set of issues we must add ‘subsidiary issues’:

(E) To what extent were leading UN officials and/or the Norwegians incorporated within these programmatic ideas/endeavours; and

(F) where were the Tiger leaders going to be deposited — Trincomalee (KP in Jeyaraj 2011: 30) or one of the three countries (one in Asia and two in Africa) which KP had in view when he frantically thought of using LTTE pilots, a helicopter[9] and LTTE ship to extract some Tiger leaders and/or the Pirapāharan family from their entrapped situation.[10]

II. Jeyaraj and KP in Question and Answer, 2010

Q: I want to clarify something. I hope you will give me a candid answer.Was this peace initiative to bring about a ceasefire a time–buying exercise? Were you striving for a ceasefire on the one hand and trying to buy arms and ship them on the other?

A: My answer is NO.
I do not know about others in the LTTE leadership. Some may have thought of using it as a ploy but I was sincere and serious about a ceasefire. I was genuinely trying for one because I knew the LTTE was doomed if the war continued and I wanted to save the life of the people, Prabhakaran, my other comrades and the young fighters of the movement.

I did not play a double game of trying to negotiate peace and acquire arms at the same time. I believe in doing whatever task at hand with sincerity and without deception. If I were to try hard for a ceasefire openly and at the same time try to transport arms clandestinely it would be dishonest. I have to give my 100% to peacemaking and nothing else.

Also look at it this way. If I were found out or if international players helping me for a ceasefire got information that I was shipping arms then my credibility would have been lost. Trust in me and the intentions of the LTTE would have been destroyed. Just imagine the Sri Lankan government’s position if it was discovered that I was playing a double game?. All chances of a ceasefire would have been lost forever.

Q: Did this mean that the LTTE was not trying to ferry arms while you were working towards a ceasefire?

A: What I can say is that I was not doing or trying to do anything of the sort. But others may have been trying. You see with arms procurement and transport becoming difficult Prabhakaran had delegated such duties to some other divisions also. While Aiya was in charge of arms procurement the intelligence division under Pottu Amman, the international affairs division under Castro and sea tigers under Soosai were also delegated arms procurement duties. The situation was so desperate that Prabhakaran had put all these actors on to this stage. But still no progress was made.

Q: It looks like a case of too many cooks spoiling the soup. Do you think that you may have never let this situation develop had you been in charge all along?

A: Well I must say that arms procurement is not a simple thing like buying things over a counter. It is because of inexperienced eager people being entrusted with this task that some arrests were made like in Canada and the USA

When Soosai, Sornam and later Prabhakaran spoke to me they did say that it was a mistake to have removed me from arms procurement and that these problems would not have occurred if I was in charge

Though I was happy to hear that I doubt whether I could have managed to succeed under changed circumstances. With powerful countries monitoring movements like us in the global war against terrorism and the performance of a highly improved navy, I too may have found it difficult to procure and transport arms as required.

Q: Again let me ask you – were you trying for a ceasefire only to save the LTTE or was your commitment to peace deeper and really genuine?

A: I am glad you asked me this because I can speak openly about my change of heart. It was a slow process.

The time that I was out of the LTTE and leading a quiet life gave me time to give deep thought and reflect on things. I was also able to observe the world being transformed in the aftermath of September 11th 2001. Earlier they used to say one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. Now they were saying there is no good or bad terrorist. All are terrorists

I realised that a movement like the LTTE could not continue to fight and survive in a changing environment. The whole world will gang up against us. Also after decades of conflict the Tamil people were suffering. They needed peace.

So I really thought we must negotiate and reach a political settlement. Bala annai and I were of the same mind in this. I tried to convince Prabhakaran also of this. He then said to negotiate we must have a ceasefire first. So I began working earnestly for a ceasefire as a first step for a negotiated peace

Q: But were you really hopeful of a ceasefire? were you not fighting a lost battle? Looking back with the wisdom of hindsight what do you think?

A: At that time I was really hopeful about a ceasefire. I knew that somehow a ceasefire had to be brought about to save the lives of the LTTE leaders, cadres and innocent civilians caught in the middle.

Q: Did you not try to save the civilians by getting the LTTE to release them?

A: I did try at the start.

There was even an offer by the Americans to transport them by sea to Trincomalee. But the LTTE hierarchy was not agreeable. This attitude was most unfortunate and may appear as inhuman. I am not trying to condone or justify this action but when I reflect upon the past I think the LTTE leadership also had no choice. If they released the people first, then only the tigers would be left there. Thereafter all of them could have been wiped out.

Q: Mao Ze Dong’s famous dictum about guerillas being the fish swimming in an ocean of people. If the ocean was drained the fish would flounder. So the fish wanted to retain the water?

A: Exactly. That is why I tried for a ceasefire so that everyone , the people and the fighters could be saved. But looking back now I think the LTTE leadership was too late in trying for a ceasefire. Had we tried in mid-2008 when the fighting was on the west of the A -9 highway there was a good chance of working out an agreement

But after Poonagary,paranthan, Kilinochchi and Elephant pass fell the prospects of victory were imminent for the government. The pace of events was too fast. From their point of view, with outright victory in sight, it would have been stupid to go in for a ceasefire

Q: Under these circumstances what did you do? What could you achieve?

A: I am essentially a worker. If given a responsibility I start doing it instead of finding reasons for not doing it. Also in this case it was a matter of life and death. I had to somehow work out a ceasefire and save the people,movement and leadership.

So with the meagre funds at my disposal and the support of like-minded people I commenced my work. I was in touch with international political leaders, top bureaucrats, diplomats,opinion makers of different countries and also high –ranking UN officials. I contacted some of them directly. Influential people contacted some others on my behalf.

In March 2009 I thought I had made a breakthrough but sadly Prabhakaran rejected the proposal.

Q: Was this the “lock-off” plan that was rejected by Prabhakaran in just three words? Could you elaborate please?

A: Well Yes. I had a tentative plan with international endorsement. The LTTE was to lay down arms by hoarding them in specific locations. The words used were “lock –off”. That is arms particularly heavy weapons were to be locked off in specific places.

They were to be handed over to representatives of the UN. Afterwards there was to be a cessation of hostilities in which the people were to be kept in specific “no firing zones”. Negotiations were to be conducted between the Govt and LTTE with Norwegian facilitation.

Tentatively about 25 to 50 top leaders with their families were to be transported to a foreign country if necessary. The middle level leaders and cadres were to be detained, charged in courts and given relatively minor sentences. The low level junior cadres were to be given a general amnesty.

The scheme was to endorsed by the west including Norway, EU and the USA. The Americans were ready to send their naval fleet in to do evacuation if necessary

Q: Was the Sri Lankan government agreeable

A: I don’t think there was any official intimation to Colombo but maybe they were sounded out informally. But the plan was never concretised because the main man concerned, Prabhakaran rejected it.

I had written an outline of the plan and sent it to him for approval. If he said “Proceed” I would have concretised it and started work on implementing it. But when I faxed the details in a 16 page memorandum he rejected the 16 pages in just three words “Ithai Etrukkolla Mudiyathu” (This is unacceptable)So I had to drop it

Q: Even if Prabhakaran had agreed to it do you think the Govt would have complied given the fact that the armed forces were on the verge of annihilating the LTTE?

A: I don’t know. Most probably the Govt may not have obliged because it was on the verge of victory and would not have wanted to be deprived of it. But the point is that it was never concretised and submitted to the Govt. Given the situation the LTTE was in, Prabhakaran should have taken it.

Q: Why did Prabhakaran reject it then?

A; I don’t know I can only guess. It is too painful to dwell on it because he is no more and I will always be thinking “why didn’t he accept this opportunity”?

Q: But your attempts to save Prabhakaran did not stop did it? There was some talk of a helicopter rescue attempt?

A: Yes. That was another plan but that too did not materialise because of the non – cooperation of Nediyavan and his cohorts abroad. Whenever I think of the fate that befell Prabhakaran’s family I grieve and then silently curse Nediyavan and his people.

Q: Do you think you can relate what happened if it is not too painful for you or you think that it needs to be told?

A: It is painful but I do think our people must know the truth about this matter. Maybe speaking about it may give me emotional relief.

What happened was that in early May 2009, Prabhakaran’s eldest son Charles Anthony called me frantically. He calls me “KP Mama” or KP Uncle. Charles said that the situation was getting very bad and that I should somehow arrange to get his father, mother, sister and younger brother out to safety.

Q: What about Charles himself

A: No he did not want to escape. Charles said he was ready to fight to the last and die if necessary. It was his family he was worried about. I was very upset after talking to Charles. So I thought of a plan. I wanted to charter a ship and keep it ready in international waters way beyond the reach of the Sri Lankan navy. I wanted to buy a helicopter and get some of the trained LTTE airwing pilots to fly it into the Wanni and pick up the family and bring them to the ship. Thereafter I had plans of keeping them safe in one of three countries

Q: But would Prabhakaran have agreed to this

A: I am not sure but after I had formulated a plan I got in touch with Charles and told him. I asked him whether his father would agree. Charles said he will try and make Prabhakaran agree but if he would not agree, I was to save his mother and two younger siblings.

Knowing Prabhakaran I felt he would never try to escape with his family, leaving others behind. But I thought the helicopter could take him and some others to a jungle somewhere first and land him safely. Then the helicopter could fly out with Madhivadhani, Duwaraga and Balachandran.

Question: What happened finally to your plan of rescuing Prabhakaran and his family by helicopter? Why did the plan not take off?

Answer: It’s a very sad story………After Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony asked me to rescue his family members by air I devised a plan and made preliminary arrangements. I arranged for a ship to be kept waiting at a far –off port beyond the reach of the Sri Lanka navy. I also made arrangements to buy a second-hand helicopter from an Ukrainian contact.

The idea was for one or two trained pilots from the LTTE’s airwing “Vaan Puligal” to fly into the Wanni. If Prabhakaran was willing,the family except for Charles Anthony were to be flown out. If the leader was unwilling then he and a few other of his bodyguards and senior leaders were to be flown by the copter and dropped off in a jungle location in Lanka.

Afterwards the heli would fly out to the ship with Prabhakaran’s wife Madhivadhani, daughter Thuwaraga and younger son Balachandran and perhaps a few others. I would be waiting for them at the ship. Thereafter I planned to keep the family safely in one of three countries. Perhaps in rotation.

Q; Were these countries ready to accept the family? Were they western nations?

A: No they were not countries in the west. Two were in Africa and one in Asia. I had been in touch with senior govt officials of these countries through my representatives. When I had sounded them out on this matter they were willing.

Q: The plan itself was rather risky? Were you confident of it succeeding?

A: Yes it was risky but I was ready to carry it out. We had no choice. If we didn’t risk it, the alternative was certain death. I also had a secret hope that Prabhakaran may agree at the last minute and opt to fly out. So I devised the plan. The key element was surprise. If the first stage was successful we may have tried further flights too to rescue others.

Q: But then what went wrong?

A: It never worked out. It required about 1.5 million US dollars to implement the plan. I did not have that kind of money. The LTTE overseas structure had to give me the money. Castro had promised Charles Anthony that Nediyavan in Norway will transfer the necessary funds to me. But he never did it.

I made repeated requests that it was urgent and time was running out. I would be told “the money is coming, money is coming”. But sadly it never came.

Also Nediyavan was in touch with Atchuthan the Air wing chief living abroad. Earlier he had agreed to provide the required LTTE pilots for the operation. But then suddenly acting perhaps under Nediyavan’s orders he stopped communicating with me. I was really frantic. I approached mercenary pilots to fly the helicopter but nothing further could be done without necessary funds.

And then in mid-May the Sri Lankan army launched a three –pronged offensive and boxed off the Valainjermadam- Mullivaaikkaal- Vattuvaahal area. After that it was too late to attempt a helicopter rescue. So with great sorrow I abandoned the plan. I was furious with Nediyavan and Castro but helpless to do anything.

Q: And within days all were dead?

A: Yes. They were all dead. The whole family was gone. I was extremely sad at Balachandran’s death. He was only 12 years old. I had never seen the boy in person but when he was a child I used to talk to Prabhakaran frequently. This boy would be on his lap and Prabhakaran would often give the phone to him saying “Intha KP Mamavode kathai” (Here talk to KP uncle) So I would chat with him. Later I lost touch with the boy but I was apparently still existing in his memory.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009b “The Battle for the Vanni Pocket,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, March 2009, Vol. 35/2, pp. 17-19…. AND http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/aulimp/citations/gsa/2009_157395/ 156554.html

Gaspar Raj, Fr. Jegath 2014 “Saving Talaivar Prabhakaran, 2009: Fr. Gaspar Raj’s Revelations,” 23 October 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/saving-talaivar-prabhakaran-fr-gaspar-rajs-revelations-in-2010/#more-14288

Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014,http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-american-agenda-for-sri-lankas-national-issues-1970s-2014/

Jenkins, Simon 2011 “Simon Jenkins pulverized Miliband’s Assinine Foreign Interventions in 2009,” http://www.aspensrental.com/simon-jenkins-pulverized-milibands-assinine-foreign-interventions-in-2009/

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009a “Wretched of the Wanni Earth break Free of Bondage,” http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/380 and Daily Mirror, 25 April 2009.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2010 “KP speaks out ~ 2 – An interview with the former LTTE chief,” 13 August 2010, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/1631

Jeyaraj, D. B. S.2011 “KP” speaks out: an Interview with former Tiger Chief, Vavuniya: Kum Pvt.

Roberts, Michael 2013c “BBC-Blind: Misreading the Tamil Tiger Strategy of International Blackmail, 2008-13,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/bbc-blind-misreading-the-tamil-tiger-strategy-of-international-blackmail-2008-13/#more-11221

Roberts, Michael 2014aGenerating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels,” 10 April 2014, http://groundviews.org/2014/04/10/generating-calamity-2008-2014-an-overview-of-tamil-nationalist-operations-and-their-marvels/

Roberts, Michael 2014b “Ball-by-Ball through Wikileaks: US Embassy Despatches from Colombo, 2009: ONE,” 27 August 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/ball-by-ball-through-wikileaks-us-embassy-despatches-from-colombo-2009-one/#more-13481

Roberts, Michael 2014c “Winning the War. Evaluating the Impact of Api Wenuwen Api,” 1 September 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/winning-the-war-evaluating-the-impact-of-api-wenuwen-ap/… Also in https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/winning-the-war-evaluating-the-impact-of-api-wenuwen-api/

Roberts, Michael 2014d Al-Jazeera Video Footage and Reports from the War Front, 7th October 2008,” 4 October 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/al-jazeera-video-footage-and-reports-from-the-war-front-7th-october-2008


[1] Digests from the first few from January 2009 are available at Roberts 2014a.

[2] Note Balachandran’s evaluation of him in the Thuppahi piece as well as Fr. Gaspar Raj’s outbursts in the debate in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKqchAvyImg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9kTP3NnhK4

[3] Gamage 2014

[4] See Jeyaraj 2011: 14ff.where KP claims that his removal was a plot orchestrated by Castro and Thamilchelvan.

[5] KP tells Jeyaraj that his duties in “handling the LTTE shipping fleet” were transferred to Soosai in February 2002; while in December 2002 “I was relieved of my duties as overseas purchasing [so] the Department known as KP dept was disbanded” (Jeyaraj 2011: 21-22).

[6] Significantly, Pirapāharan “was optimistic that the LTTE would be able to hold on to a piece of territory with access to the coast for a long time [but not for ever].” KP had informed his talaivar Pirapāharan that “my immediate goal would be to bring about a ceasefire and not the resumption of supplies” (jeyaraj 20111: 23-24).

[7] However, gamesmen of the Fukushima type will be debarred.

[8] This method appears to have been KP’s inventive idea and there is no evidence — thus far– that the USA had initiated or adopted the thought.

[9] To be purchased from Ukraine.

[10] See Jeyaraj 2011: 32-35. This idea on KP’s part seems to have been a last-minute hasty thought and did not involve USA as far as I can work out. Thus it seems to have been in May 2009. KP indicates that he did not have the 1.5 million US dollars required for the purpose because Nediyan in Norway was not ready to provide this cash

CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 16 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Maintains Silence On Damning Charges

4 months following the Colombo Telegraph first questioned dubious monetary practices in the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and 16 days following pledging in its website to respond to related and far a lot more critical charges ‘within two weeks,’ the CPA remains silent.

On October 10th Colombo Telegraph exposed different monetary malpractices in the CPA. The CPA, in its official website, referring to this exposé, announced that its Executive Director, Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu was away and that a response would be offered ‘in two weeks’. Dr Saravanamuttu returned to Sri Lanka on the 17th. The self-imposed deadline expired day prior to yesterday (24th). Two a lot more day has passed. The CPA is however to respond.

a1e56 sri lanka Sara CPA CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 16 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Maintains Silence On Damning Charges

On October 10th, based on CPA documents in our possession, Colombo Telegraph accused the CPA of billing for un-held workshops, engaging in double billing,’ i.e getting grants from two donors to do the same process and duplicating receipts, hotel bills and other bills to submit to donors (possibly even submitting very same bills to numerous donors), and hoodwinking donors by filing expenses under secure cost columns.

On the very same day ( October 10th)  the CPA web site mentioned “The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is aware of an article in the Colombo Telegraph internet site titled ‘Exposé: Centre For Policy Options Defrauded And Hoodwinked Donors’ published on ten October 2014. The report includes a number of allegations against the organisation and particular members of the staff. As the Executive Director is travelling on operate, CPA will post a response to these allegations on his return to Sri Lanka in the next two weeks.”

Colombo Telegraph initial asked the CPA to respond to specific concerns based on our investigations on 8th of June, 2014.  The CPA, after exchanging a handful of emails ultimately mentioned: “We consider additional communication with you futile and reiterate our position that these allegations are clearly mala fide’.”

We responded as follows:

“It is of course your prerogative to communicate or refuse to do so, but there are troubling queries that stay.

“Can you tell us which of our allegations are mala fide?

“Can you tell us no matter whether the CPA and the International Federation of Journalists with each other have submitted proposals to UNESCO and EU to do a “Public Service Broadcasting” campaign/coaching or not?

“If “yes” can you tell us what workshops had been, for whom and exactly where they have been held?

How a lot of workshops have been held employing UNESCO funding and how numerous workshops under EU funding?

“Since each EU and UNESCO funded workshops and particular activities, can inform us how much monies had been given by each funders?

“Contrary to your claim that the “CPA paid the Galle Face Hotel liquor bill”, Sasha Ekanayake (the Unit coordinator at that time) stated CPA submitted a bill to EU as drinks and food “Since (we) cannot charge liquor, the CPA submitted a various bill to CPA”. This signifies the CPA got a distinct bill from Galle Face Hotel instead of submitting the original bill (a copy of which I sent to you).  Would you agree?

“As we said prior to it’s not our duty to supply you documents. As you have implied in your last email, you have access to organization’s document so please verify them.

“But do not assume that we do not have documents, we have all narrative reports which CPA submitted to the donors or a file of original bills, which the CPA did not submit to the donors.

“Just so you know, all documents are authentic and we can prove this if necessary.”

These are questions and comments that are based on damning documentary proof in the possession of the Colombo Telegraph. The Colombo Telegraph finds it appalling that a sturdy advocate of checks and balances, accountability and transparency such as the CPA remains silent on the allegations.

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Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s Snailkreig

By P.Bertie Ranaweerage

0075b sri lanka Bertie Ranaweerage 150x150 Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s Snailkreig

Bertie Ranaweerage

All good hearted men and women had been longing to see an emergence of a powerful widespread candidate acceptable to all the ethnic groups who can defeat the incumbent President at the next Presidential election. It is tragic that all their hopes are fading away since of Mr. Ranil Wicramasinghe’s desire to sit in President’s chair. The UNP has unofficially confirmed that Ranil would contest the next Presidential election.

The UNP was boasting several a time that it was prepared to face any election at any time. But as we are aware it miserably failed at every election held in the course of the final handful of years. The only occasion they were in a position to win was the Badulla district largely thanks to the sky rocketing cost of living. My conclusion is the unbearable cost of rice produced people to vote for the UNP. It is true that Harin Fernando’s charisma produced a distinction but the price tag of rice was the decisive aspect.

Although Mr. Harin Fernando was able to translate voters’ anger into UNP votes due to his hard operate and charismatic leadersahip now the million dollar question is will Ranil be able to do at the Presidential election what Harin managed to do in Badulla.

If we meticulously look at what Mahinda did and Ranil did or what the SLFP did and theUNP did during the last week or so it is not challenging to guess who is going to win in the propaganda campaign in the coming weeks if not in the coming couple of months.

35a65 sri lanka Mahinda Ranil  Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s SnailkreigMahinda started his campaign in earnest by going to Jaffna and giving land deeds and gold to the Tamils. As he did in the course of the last Presidential elections he has begun to summon state workers to the Temple Trees. He talked to the workers of the Well being sector in the morning and in the afternoon he held a meeting for the personnel of the Agriculture sector last week. As he knows the path to the thoughts lies by way of the stomach he in no way hesitates to treat these who are invited to the temple Trees with meals with each other with propaganda material. Now don’t ask me whether he spends his personal cash or your tax money to fill the invitees’ stomachs in order to pocket their votes.

Even though government owned electronic media and print media are carrying on an incessant anti Ranil vicious campaign Mahinda supporters have launched an island wide mud slinging poster campaign against Ranil possibly throughout the nation. In the meantime we can see complete web page advertisements heaping praise on Mahinda in the newspapers everyday.

Twenty four stages of which some are as wide as fifty metres and stands for big Tv screens had been being constructed at a facility of Sri Lanka Ports Authority by its personnel when some UNP MPs created an unannounced pay a visit to to that facility according to one of the MPs who joined the’ raid’.

Yesterday the JVP stated that all the printing shops in Colombo have been given orders to print election related material of Mahinda and as a outcome they have refused to accept orders from other folks.

In the meantime what has the UNP or Ranil been doing? At a small gathering  this week, someplace in Colombo Ranil announced some election promises that he would do when he came to energy. Following that we heard that all of a sudden he flew to Singapore. There was one more news from the UNP that its Committee of Twenty gathered for the third time. And of course there were a handful of press conferences summoned by the UNP also.

Is this the way the UNP is going to fight mighty Mahinda?

If we go back to the pre-election period in 1994 we can recall that dozens of anti-government tabloids and news letters were  published weekly and they were very common amongst the people. They played a major part to tilt the balance in Chandrika’s  favour.

One more instance the UNP utilized posters in its favour was the pre-presidential period in 1988. Notwithstanding the threat of the JVP, Mr. R. Premadasa sent men and women from Colombo to every single nook and corner of the country to paste his poster ‘ME KAUDA ? MOKADA KARANNE’ ( Who is this ? What is he undertaking? ) Premadas possibly hoped to go on a second round of poster campaign with his name, intention and picture but he had to limit it to newspaper ads due to attainable threats from armed JVPers to Premadasa’s males.

In the course of the 1977 pre-election period tens of thousands of posters with cartoons on Bandaranaike family bandyism were pasted across the country which produced a massive effect in shifting the public opinion against the SLFP.

Today’s UNP is a far cry from the JR’s UNP and Premadasa’s UNP. One particular of the reasons is able UNPers are now in Mahinda’s cabinet.

Ranil’s  UNP has failed to paste even a single poster on an island –wide scale so for announcing its candidate or condemning Rajapaksa household bandyism.

Has it been able to publish even a single anti-government tabloid so far? It appears it has failed even to publish their official organ ‘Siyarata’ as far as I know. Even though it has a media unit, it has done little to spread its message to the public

Whilst Mahinda has launched a propaganda blitzkrieg in preparation of the election  Ranil’s propaganda campaign, if there is one, is absolutely nothing but a snailkreig.

If the UNP hopes to beat Mahinda it has to launch an earth shattering propaganda campaign to start with. It is true that a  powerful campaign alone can not beat the opponent but a propaganda campaign that reverberates in each and every house in the country, a campaign that stuns the opponents goes a long way.

It is better for Ranil, for the UNP and for the nation if Ranil abstains from contesting and support a candidate with a greater personality who has a mass appeal as the frequent candidate at the forthcoming Presidential election for it is not straightforward to defeat Mahinda as he nevertheless enjoys the support of the majority of the Sinhalese. And do not forget that Thondaman has promised his help to Mahinda which means a great number of upcountry Tamils will vote for the incumbent President. In case Ranil contests and loses it will be the end of Ranil’s political life.

Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag Bearers

By Muhammed Fazl -

899ba sri lanka Muhammed Fazl  150x150 Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag Bearers

Muhammed Fazl

“It is a man’s personal mind, not his enemy or foe that lures him to evil ways” – Gautama Buddha

Historians of Buddhism in Sri Lanka may possibly or may not have interpreted historical scriptures based on details or opinions… but none of it matter any longer since Buddhism has lost its worth and its value thanks largely to its ineffectiveness in matters regarding governance, rule of law and social justice. Bitter it may possibly be to some to swallow, but Sri Lanka was never a Buddhist nation. The require to look for option and effective sources of guidance in major the masses towards spiritual enlightenment is now a matter of fantastic exigency.

60% of the population claiming to be Buddhists or the belief in the legend exactly where Lord Buddha supposedly had arrived in Sri Lanka centuries ago does not make this a Buddhist country. For it to be rightly referred to as such, it require to be governed by teachings of Buddhism as in the case of Islamic nations exactly where Islamic Sharia is the source of governance. Buddhism as a state religion in this nation has been a failure considering that none of the governments in power paid any significant consideration in getting guided by its teachings. Sri Lanka with a single of the highest instances of rape, suicide, murder, theft, racial intolerance, alcohol consumption and the addiction for gambling has also contributed in negating the influence of Buddhism.

4da8b sri lanka buddhist monks protest Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag BearersThe Thripitakaya, written 500 plus years right after the death of Gautama Buddha with 80,000 plus sermons to comply with, how it came to be written or concerns of its authenticity is no much more critical as long as its teachings are helpful, if followed that is. What ever religion one particular might stick to, the beauty of the Buddhist philosophy or its sensibility can not be simply disputed or denied.

The state religion and a religion of tolerance, interpreted, distorted and disregarded by many and being utilized mostly for income and politics in present chimes, seeing its teachings becoming relegated to mere rituals is certainly unfortunate. In order to attract the disinterested lot, copying ritualistic practices from the Hindu faith and construing it as divine ones makes it an even far more pathetic sight.

What could have befallen in the ‘land of Buddha’ exactly where erosion of values and practices have resulted in a sense of spiritual bankruptcy, particularly amongst the flag bearers of its faith?

Lord Buddha anticipated his followers to learn the truth themselves and not just think in what the scriptures say. But this ‘truth’ can be subjective and interpreted in several ways specifically when living in a multi-religious nation such as ours. Guidance it may possibly be, but how numerous of our own monks have memorized or know the which means of the whole scripture, let alone the ones in Pali or Sanskrit languages? As for the ordinary faithful, by and massive, belief in Buddhism or the pagan ritualistic practices are somewhat a fashion statement to portray and justify one’s non-existent sense of piety.

Wearing a easy saffron-colored robe does not qualify one to deserve respect when attributes of old-age, wisdom, achievements in the service of humanity or piety does not exist. Rapists, pedophiles, thieves, murderers searching for sanctuary in temple premises donning monk’s robes is a frequent sight and far more frequently than not, it is as a cover from their ‘colorful’ pasts and as a refuge from prosecution by the long arm of the law.

While the method of ordaining of monks as effectively as disrobing them are seriously flawed and non-existent in most circumstances, I constantly questioned the judgment of my countrymen in bowing down to nefarious characters wearing monk’s robes. Queries arising from centuries old practices such as worshipping or praying to lifeless sculptures/statues, Bo trees, chanting Pirith, tying threads around wrists, anointing oil on the head, and ‘religious’ processions (Peraharas) and so forth., seriously needs to be addressed when one’s suitable conduct is absent or contrary to the teachings of Lord Buddha.

622c5 sri lanka Child Monks 2 Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag BearersEven though Nirvana (Nibbana) can be achieved only when the fire of greed and hatred is extinguished, in practical terms, the state of Dukkha (full peace) can be accomplished only if no money is transacted, when detached from luxuries in life and worldly pleasures, when not in a state of intoxication or when non-violent or not dishonest among other positive attributes. Expecting majority of present day monks to abide by Vinaya (guidelines of discipline) would be unrealistic and herein arises the query of identifying the pious from the devious.

One’s piety is for himself/herself and for them alone the rewards for their good deeds. Their actions, sincere or otherwise, need to have not have a bearing on one more or for it to be a cause for worship. The Muslims that I am, I think only the God above knows the level of piety among his creatures. Therefore, I seriously query the actions of my countrymen in bowing down to yet another mortal who in reality could be a kid molester, rapist or a murderer and so forth.

Most of the Buddhist temples in this nation are cash cows and havens for pedophiles and the deprived homosexuals. Small boys as young as six are left at the mercy of grown up males who supposedly have ‘denounced’ sexual relationships and who claim to live a ‘life of celibacy’. Guys and females were created to enjoy each and every other, so it is in line with nature for a single to be attracted to the opposite sex. Deprivation often leads to the unnatural kind, mainly involving minors who are vulnerable and effortlessly offered in these conditions. When small Samaneras (tiny boys) get employed to living with the forced pleasurable discomfort, they too discover to impose themselves on the vulnerable when they grow up. The cycle continues with a strict code of silence largely due to abandonment by their parents when young and when left with no other options for sustenance outside the temple premises. Investigation has taught us that sexual violence are perpetrated largely by guys who have been themselves victimized when young.

Investigating activities of every single Buddhist temple in this nation would reveal the prevalence of misappropriation of charity funds, homosexuality, escapades of sex amongst monks and prostitutes and Tele-drama actresses, alcohol/drug abuse and kid abuse among other folks. Inactions of the four Mahanayake chapters in eradicating the abuses and corruption would also make them complicit ought to they continue with their silence. Unfortunately, the partnership in between each and every government in energy and the Buddhist clergy is so robust, that an impartial investigation in to the activities of monks and their ‘places of worship’ would in no way see light of day.

Crusaders of justice that we all ought to be, this is my personal attempt in rescuing my Sinhala Buddhist brethren from the evil that has engulfed them all along. In the meantime and in conclusion, I sincerely hope concerned authorities would address the following issues and issues,

1. Why Buddhist temples are permitted to collect funds when it is the responsibility of the State to safeguard and foster Buddhism? Is it also not a code of conduct in the Buddhist Vinaya for the monks not to deal with money? And if they do, will it not lead to misappropriation and abuse of public funds? With so numerous accusations levelled at Islamic locations of worship for raising money which could fund ‘Islamic extremism’ as allegedly, is it not evident with outfits like BBS linked temples instigating terror and violence against minorities only after raising vast amounts of funds?

2. What is the criteria in ordaining a monk and if exist a program to disrobe them when they act on the contrary to its teachings, has it ever been exercised? And if so, why wasn’t BBS general secretary Gnanasara not punished or disrobed for his despicable behavior?

three. Is it legal for children to be trained in monkhood when they are young as six and when their main education should be created compulsory? Would it be right to force religious teachings and religious teachings only when they are little youngsters and avert them from obtaining a regular childhood and dreams of a life of their choice?

4. Does the Child Protection Authority visit any of the temples if not all of them to investigate situations of pedophilia and child abuse? And would it be secure to leave them in the organization of unrelated males with no females to look soon after them? Would it also not be advisable for the Authority to make regular visits to inspect the wellbeing of children in the care of monks?

five. What is the role of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana vis-a-viz temples? Shouldn’t they implement a code of conduct and also look into contemporary day Buddhist beliefs and practices?

6. If monks are permitted to dabble in politics, would it be unfair to other political parties because temples attract tax cost-free funds and also enjoy a lot of subsidized facilities given that they are registered as charity organizations.

7. If monks are allowed to enter the political arena, would it not be a case of using religion (which is most dear to a sizable section of the ignorant voter base) to achieve power and wealth?

eight. Why the age old practice of veneration of an additional mortal and the require to give prominence and priority in public areas, buses, trains and so on., when one’s faith is a private matter?

*The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted on [email protected] and via FB Fazl Muhammed Nizar

WikiLeaks: Loved ones-Run Airline Manager Vass Hyperlinks To Economic Impropriety

“The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) is arranging to launch a state-run airline aimed at providing low-expense travel for Sri Lankan migrant workers and tourists to the Middle East and India. The budget carrier, apparently conceived and sophisticated by close advisors to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is to be called Mihin Lanka, after the President (brief for Mihindu, which is the Pali name for Mahinda). The non-transparent way in which the President’s coterie has sophisticated the airline has elicited extensive controversy.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

92f6c sri lanka Mahinda and sajin  WikiLeaks: Loved ones Run Airline Manager Vass Hyperlinks To Economic Impropriety

Mahinda and Vass

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable dated March 09, 2007 was written by the US Ambassador to Colombo,Robert O. Blake.

The US ambassador wrote “Critics argue that the carrier’s lack of transparency stems from its leadership – a handful of politicians and advisors close to the President. According to a Civil Aviation Authority gazette, the Board of Directors of Mihin Lanka will be composed of Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (the President’s brother), Finance SIPDIS Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, Air Marshall Roshan Goonetilake, and Presidential Coordinating Secretary Sajin de Vass Gunawardena. Gunawardena, who has been appointed ‘Accountable Manager in charge’ of the airline, has been linked to a quantity of previous allegations of monetary impropriety involving government procurement.

“The airline is to be a totally government-owned company utilizing state funds. The initial capital contribution is estimated at about 500 million Sri Lankan Rupees (around USD four.6 million), with an estimated total expense set at Rs. 1.5 billion (approx USD 13.eight million). The government initially intended to tap the state-run Foreign Employment Bureau and the Workers’ Trust Fund for start up capital in the venture. Soon after a robust public backlash supported by damaging media reporting against employing public funds, the government could be in search of economic backing elsewhere, but has not publicly identified attainable alternate sources.

“President Rajapaksa sacked Minister of Ports and Aviation Mangala Samaraweera, who had opposed the Mihin Lanka arrangement (ref A). Rajapaksa did not appoint a replacement for Samaraweera, alternatively keeping the Ports and Aviation portfolio for himself. On February 17, Samaraweera, who had also served as Rajapaksa’s Minister of Foreign Affairs till he was removed in the January 28 cabinet reshuffle, sent a letter to the President listing a series of grievances (ref B). In this, Samaraweera stated his sturdy disapproval of the Mihin Lanka project due to the planned use of public funds and the rushed approval procedure that circumvented standard administrative and financial regulations.”

Putting a comment the ambassador wrote “Civil Aviation Authority officials and representatives of Airport and Aviation Solutions Ltd. appear significantly less than enthusiastic about the Mihin Lanka venture. In fielding Post’s queries, they seemed cautious and uncomfortable, repeatedly stating that they had been not aware of numerous important operational particulars. Post also notes that neighborhood media coverage of the Mihin venture no longer mentions any of the earlier controversy around the airline. In reality, coverage disappeared completely for about two months, and only resumed this week with brief and uncritical coverage of the test flight described in para three. Numerous Sri Lankans view the Mihin Lanka venture as a sign that the populist and socialist President Rajapaksa could be tempted to practice crony capitalism if he can steer clear of press, opposition, and regulatory scrutiny.”

Read the cable under for further specifics

VZCZCXRO0826 RR RUEHLMC DE RUEHLM #0394/01 0681026 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 091026Z MAR 07 FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5614 Information RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0727 RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 9947 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6916 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 4991 RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 5670 RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3155 RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2157 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7489 RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1872 RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000394 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/INS AND EEB/TRA/OTP STATE PASS USTR, DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER SINGAPORE FOR FAA E.O 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON EIND ETRD EAIR EINV KCOR CE Topic: SRI LANKA: ALLEGATIONS OF IMPROPRIETY IN CONNECTION WITH NEW STATE-OWNED Budget AIRLINE REF: A) COLOMBO 263 B) COLOMBO 324 ¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: The Government of Sri Lanka plans to launch in March 2007 a state-run airline aimed at providing low-price travel for migrant workers and tourists to the Middle East and India. The spending budget carrier, called Mihin Lanka, has elicited criticism from politicians, the press, and the airline business. The lately sacked Minister of Ports and Aviation has charged the President with circumventing procedural and economic regulations in the procedure of producing the airline. Public criticism may possibly have triggered the President to back away from allegedly organizing to deal free shares in the venture to himself and close loved ones members and political allies. Even so, the venture hardly appears to be in the public interest: 1st, the strategy to use civil service pension funds to start off the new venture is risky, as the South Asia region's price range airline marketplace is competitive and the GSL has a poor track record in operating airlines. Second, if the venture succeeds in constructing market place share, it will come at the expense of Sri Lankan Airlines, which is still 51 % government-owned. End summary and comment. CONTROVERSIAL Budget AIRLINE TO BE STATE-OWNED, NAMED FOR PRESIDENT, RUN BY Family members AND Buddies ¶2. (U) The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) is organizing to launch a state-run airline aimed at offering low-expense travel for Sri Lankan migrant workers and tourists to the Middle East and India. The price range carrier, apparently conceived and sophisticated by close advisors to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is to be known as Mihin Lanka, right after the President (brief for Mihindu, which is the Pali name for Mahinda). The non-transparent way in which the President's coterie has advanced the airline has elicited in depth controversy. ¶3. (U) GSL officials say Mihin Lanka will commence operations this month. (Mihin Lanka offices at the airport and Colombo are now open, but a targeted launch of February four, Sri Lanka's Independence Day, came and went with no official explanation of the postponement.) On March 5, the airline secured a provisional license to fly soon after overcoming technical problems that temporarily delayed its maiden test flight. Its initial flight from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport to India was a requirement for the airline to get an "air operating certificate" from Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The certificate offers Mihin Lanka clearance to operate and handle all elements of a commercial flight utilizing a leased Fokker-27 aircraft. At this time, the airline does not own any aircraft. ¶4. (U) The GSL is billing Mihin Lanka as the country's only national airline. (Note: This is odd, due to the fact the government nevertheless has a 51 percent majority Sri Lankan Airlines Emirates Airlines owns 43 percent, and the remaining six percent is owned by Sri Lankan Airlines staff). This no-frills carrier is created to cater to nearby migrant workers traveling to the Middle East, and to vacationers to and from the Indian sub-continent. The government says Mihin Lanka will also function as a cargo airline, transporting goods produced by tiny and medium scale producers. The venture plans to directly or indirectly create 500 jobs, such as positions for Sri Lankan Air Force personnel who want to move into civil aviation. ¶5. (U) The airline is to be a completely government-owned business utilizing state funds. The initial capital contribution is estimated at about 500 million Sri Lankan Rupees (around USD 4.six million), with an estimated total price set at Rs. 1.5 billion (approx USD 13.8 million). The government initially intended to tap the state-run Foreign Employment Bureau and the Employees' Trust Fund for start off up capital in the venture. Soon after a strong public backlash supported by unfavorable media reporting against utilizing public funds, the government may be looking for economic backing elsewhere, but has not publicly identified achievable alternate sources. ¶6. (SBU) Critics argue that the carrier's lack of transparency stems from its leadership - a handful of politicians and advisors close to the President. According to a Civil Aviation Authority gazette, the Board of Directors of Mihin Lanka will be composed of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa (the President's brother), Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, Air Marshall Roshan Goonetilake, and Presidential Coordinating Secretary Sajin de Vass Gunawardena. Gunawardena, who has been appointed "Accountable Manager in charge" of the airline, has been linked to a quantity of previous allegations of monetary impropriety involving government procurement. AVIATION MINISTER'S OPPOSITION Expenses HIM HIS JOB ¶7. (U) On February 9, President Rajapaksa sacked Minister of Ports and Aviation Mangala Samaraweera, who had opposed the Mihin Lanka arrangement (ref A). Rajapaksa did not appoint a replacement for Samaraweera, instead maintaining the Ports and Aviation portfolio for himself. On February 17, Samaraweera, who had also served as Rajapaksa's Minister of Foreign Affairs till he was removed in the January 28 cabinet reshuffle, sent a letter to the President listing a series of grievances (ref B). In this, Samaraweera stated his powerful disapproval of the Mihin Lanka project due to the planned use of public funds and the rushed approval procedure that circumvented normal administrative and economic regulations. LAUNDRY LIST OF IRREGULARITIES SUGGESTS IMPROPRIETY ¶8. (SBU) Because its conception, Mihin Lanka has appeared to evade a number of Sri Lanka's standard business start-up regulations, many of which former minister Samaraweera outlined in his public letter: -The President's October 2006 budget proposal for FY 2007 did not mention Mihin Lanka in spite of plans to use public money to capitalize it. -Presidential advisors submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet for endorsement of the airline only hours prior to the cabinet meeting at which they sought approval of the venture. -No capital appraisal report was performed on the venture. -The Board of Investment (BOI) allegedly authorized the airline proposal in less than 24 hours. -The Civil Aviation Authority had already brief-listed 3 price range airline operations prior to Mihin Lanka, but place further processing of their license applications on hold until soon after Mihin Lanka launches. DUBIOUS Enterprise MODEL: STEAL THE OTHER GSL AIRLINE'S Consumers ¶9. (SBU) Aviation market insiders told Econoff that if Mihin Lanka succeeds, it would only be by cannibalizing passengers from Sri Lankan Airlines' most profitable routes - those to India and the Middle East. They add that the government's program to launch the airline by wet-leasing a single plane makes tiny financial sense, as the higher price of a crew- and upkeep-included wet lease is unlikely to be covered by ticket sales in the low-expense travel sector. Ultimately, the regional aviation market place is skeptical of Mihin Lanka's prospects merely since the GSL had such a poor track record for several years operating Sri Lankan Airlines, ahead of bringing in Emirates Airlines as an operating partner. ¶10. (SBU) Comment: Civil Aviation Authority officials and representatives of Airport and Aviation Services Ltd. seem much less than enthusiastic about the Mihin Lanka venture. In fielding Post's queries, they seemed cautious and uncomfortable, repeatedly stating that they have been not conscious of a lot of essential operational specifics. Post also notes that local media coverage of the Mihin venture no longer mentions any of the earlier controversy about the airline. In truth, coverage disappeared entirely for about two months, and only resumed this week with short and uncritical coverage of the test flight described in para three. Numerous Sri Lankans view the Mihin Lanka venture as a sign that the populist and socialist President Rajapaksa might be tempted to practice crony capitalism if he can avoid press, opposition, and regulatory scrutiny. BLAKE